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A gay couple says they were accused of having monkeypox and were attacked in Washington, D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood Sunday evening. The couple adds that the attack took place due to their sexual orientation.
Washington D.C. police confirmed they are investigating the weekend incident as a possible hate crime and released pictures of two people of interest.
“I feel like since the attack I’ve been in kind of this weird state of constant fight or flight, like I can’t really feel at ease, and it seems kind of surreal, I don’t know,” one of the two victims who asked to go by “Robert” for safety reasons told FOX 5 DC over the phone Tuesday.
Robert shared two photos, one showing his partner’s busted lip and another showing a bloody shirt from the incident.
“The suspects made derogatory comments towards the victims based on their sexual orientation,” a police news release said. The suspects allegedly took off running after the attack.
A witness told FOX 5 DC the attack was so brutal, she thought the suspects were going to kill the victims.
“The witness says the two victims were minding their own business, walking across the street in the opposite direction when the homophobic name-calling began,” FOX 5 DC reports.
The victims were taken to local hospitals for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.
Online Washington, D.C. police data shows officers have responded to 64 bias-related incidents so far this year, as of June 30. Of those incidents, 23 were reported due to sexual orientation alone.
Police are asking anyone with knowledge of this incident to call police at 202-727-9099 or text your tip to the Department’s text tip line at 50411. Crime Solvers of Washington, DC currently offers a reward of up to $1,000 to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and indictment of the person or persons responsible for a crime committed in the District of Columbia.