POMPANO BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida man who claims members of a family beat him up and left him blind because he’s gay is sharing his side of the story.
The unidentified man said he feared for his life when he was attacked in Pompano Beach on Aug. 6, 2021.
“Definitely, they were trying to kill me. They were trying to hurt me,” he said during an interview on Thursday. “I was thinking I was going to die, and there’s no way I was going to walk out of there alive.”
The 31-year-old man spoke to a Broward Sheriff’s Office detective about the assault that, he said, left him blind for life.
Oleh Makarenko and his parents, Inna and Yevhen Makarenko are charged with attempted felony murder.
The victim said he was attacked because he was in a relationship with Oleh, 21, known as Alex.
“He was a little afraid of his family or very afraid of his family,” he said. “He was telling me that his dad was treating him like he wasn’t even his child, that his mom was trying to force him to marry a girl, and I’m quoting what his mom said to him. She wanted him to force him to marry a girl to ‘take all this [expletive] out of his head.'”
After a two-week break in the relationship, the victim said, he remotely opened his community’s gate believing it was a friend, when it was actually the Makarenko family.
The victim said he went outside but quickly went back into his apartment. Moments later, he said, Alex, his parents and his brother forced their way inside.
“Alex told me he hated me, and I told them, like, ‘Unfortunately, no matter what you do, it’s not going to change that your son is gay. I’m sorry, but your son is gay,'” he said.
The victim said he asked Alex “if that was what he wanted, and he told me ‘no.'”
The victim told detectives he doesn’t remember what happened next.
In addition to losing his eyesight, the victim said, the beating left him with brain trauma, a blood infection and multiple broken bones.
When the BSO detective asked whether there’s a chance he’ll regain his sight, the victim replied, “No. Medically, what I was told was that there’s nothing they can do.”
The victim also said he’s upset because he would normally be helping his mother, who depends on him, and now he is unable to do so.
Investigators said the victim had originally told deputies that he had fallen down some stairs before he changed his story.
Alex and his father remain behind bars. Inna has been granted a bond.
Alex’s brother, 25-year-old Vladyslav Makarenko, was also arrested. Prosecutors are reviewing his case.
Through their attorney, the Makarenkos vehemently denied the allegations.
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