WEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Four suspects accused of attacking two men, hours after the Miami Beach gay pride parade over the weekend, have surrendered to authorities.
The four men turned themselves in to Miami Beach Police through an attorney, Tuesday afternoon.
Police identified them as 20-year-old Luis Alonso, 21-year-old Adonis Diaz, 21-year-old Juan C. Lopez and 21-year-old Pablo Reinaldo Romo.
According to a Miami Beach Police spokesperson, all four men are facing aggravated battery felony charges.
Tuesday night, 7News cameras captured the suspects, their hands cuffed with zip ties, as they were led into the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in West Miami-Dade.
Moments after learning about the arrests, the victims said they are still left with troubling questions about Sunday night’s attack.
The couple, Dmitry and Rene, did not want their last names released.
“Why us? There were thousands of gay guys in the street,” said Dmitry. “It was full of people. Why did they target us?”
“It was like, something in my stomach went down and then up, and I was like, I don’t know how to react,” said Rene.
The victims said they were leaving the pride festivities when they were approached by the suspects outside a public restroom.
“We never could expect something like that,” said Dmitry.
“It was my first time going to these events, and for me it’s overwhelming,” said Rene
Surveillance cameras outside the bathroom, located near the beach along Ocean Drive and Sixth Street, recorded the assault, at around 7:45 p.m.
Investigators said the subjects yelled an anti-gay slur in Spanish before the brawl ensued.
“I got knocked out,” said Dmitry. “[Rene] was the one who was fighting against all of them.”
Helmut Muller, a good Samaritan, stepped in with a friend and tried to help, but Muller also got hurt in the process.
“We had another hero who jumped in to fight to help us,” said Dmitry. “He got injured as well.”
Tuesday evening, Muller showed 7News the scar on the back of his head.
“I have four staples, as you can see,” he said.
Muller and his friend followed the attackers after the incident. He ended up being taken to the hospital.
Rene shared cellphone video of some of the attackers after he also chased them down.
“At least I tried,” said Muller. “It seemed not right, you know, that these guys with their racist slurs, judging people for their sexual orientation.”
Earlier on Tuesday, city officials addressed the LGBT committee.
“I’m here today to you that, obviously, it’s despicable,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber. “Obviously, our city takes it seriously. Obviously, we’re gonna do everything that we can to investigate it.”
Gelber went on to condemn the attack. “We’re not going to tolerate intolerance, to put it simply,” he said. “That’s how we feel, and that’s how we’re gonna act.”
Muller said he has to go back to the hospital in about a week to get the staples removed.
Rene said the torn tissue on his face is so bad that he will have to undergo surgery.
He’s not allowed to even cry. It’s a very emotional situation, but he cannot cry because it’s dangerous,” Dmitry said. “The water can’t just collect under his eye. That may be a very serious problem.”
Although the couple is shaken up about what happened, they said they are grateful to Muller and for the support they’ve received from the community.
“[Other people] just walk, and they didn’t do anything, but this guy did,” Rene said. “We really want to thank him.”
Dmitry and Rene said they’re not sure how they will face their attackers in court.
“I’m not going to see them,” said Dmitry. “I don’t want to look at the faces of hate.”
“For me it’s going to be hard,” said Rene. “That’s life.”
As the suspects wait to learn their fate, the couple said they are grateful they turned themselves in.
“Thank God they did. They surrendered. That’s the only thing,” said Rene. “There is not going to be another problem for another person.”
“I do not feel sorry for them, that they’re going to get punished,” said Dmitry. “I feel sorry for their parents, because I am pretty sure that for their families it’s very heartbreaking.”
The State Attorney’s Office will decide whether the suspects will be charged with a hate crime.
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