Four men surrender to police after brutal attack on gay couple at Miami Pride
Four men have turned themselves in after a public appeal over a homophobic attack at Miami Pride.
Police issued an appeal for information earlier this week over a brutal attack on a same-sex couple who were beaten up on Sunday evening.
Rene Chalarca and Dmitry Logunov were knocked to the ground in the attack by four men in Miami Beach, and then repeatedly punched and kicked. A man who attempted to intervene also suffered a laceration to the back of his head.
The couple were treated by paramedics at the scene for cuts and bruises on their faces, while the man who attempted to stop the attack, Helmut Muller Estrada, was taken to Mount Sinai Medical Center where his head wound required four stitches.
Four men have since themselves into police over the attack, after authorities released CCTV as part of a public appeal for help.
The four suspects – Juan C. Lopez, Adonis Diaz, Pablo Reinaldo Romo, all 21, and Luis M. Alonso, 20 – were arrested and have been charged with aggravated battery after the self-surrender.
Miami Beach Police Department added that it would be up to the state attorney’s office to decide whether to classify the attack as a hate crime.
State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle said on Twitter: “I can assure you & our community that my Hate Crimes Unit will evaluate this incident thoroughly.
“They have been working with Miami Beach PD since it occurred. Hate crimes can be enhanced under Florida law.”
Mr Chalarca said the pair are sure they were targeted because they are gay and were holding hands.
He added: “It was my first time going to these events, and for me it’s overwhelming.
“It was like, something in my stomach went down and then up, and I was like, I don’t know how to react.
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Responding to the arrests, Mr Logunov added: “It makes me happy [that they have surrendered]. At least, they were nice enough to admit that they committed the crime and surrender themselves.
“Why us? There were thousands of gay guys in the street. It was full of people. Why did they target us?
“We never could expect something like that.”
It is alleged that the anti-gay Spanish slur ‘maricón’ (faggot) was shouted during the attack.
Shocking video footage of the incident showed men beating the couple to the ground.