Philadelphia police believe they are one step closer to identifying members of a violent gang of heterosexual men and women who led an unprovoked and debilitating assault on two gay men in Center City last Thursday.
The victims, 26 and 28-year-old boyfriends who have chosen not to be identified by the media, claim they were on their way to dinner Thursday night when a group of two “visibly intoxicated” men and six “well dressed” women approached them on the corner of 16th and Chancellor, hurling gay slurs their way.
According to one of the victims, an assailant asked him if they were “fucking boyfriends,” to which he replied, “yes, this is my fucking boyfriend.”
At this point, the assailant allegedly said “oh, so you’re a dirty fag?” The victim says he responded to this with “yeah, maybe I am a dirty fag.”
Both victims and several friends who took photos of the assault from a nearby third story window have told NBC Philadelphia that all eight assailants joined to kick both victims “in the face, head, and chest.” Though police were unsure at first if the attack was motivated by hate, they have now classified the assault as a hate crime.
Speaking with the media last night, both victims say they have been released from the hospital with serious visible injuries. One victim, speaking through and contraption that will have his jaw wired shut for the next two months, says he suffered multiple facial fractures and several orbital fractures.
“I thought he was dead,” his boyfriend said, describing how assailants “threw his head onto the ground.”
According to a friend, this photo shows the extensive damage done to one of the victim’s faces:
According to CBS Philadelphia, the victims have been able to identify their attackers through surveillance footage captured either before or after the attack. Though no arrests have been made, police seem confident that the assailants will be brought to justice.