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MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – Two Miami Beach men who were attacked after leaving a Gay Pride event over the weekend are grateful for all the support they’ve received from the community.
This comes as the four men wanted for the brutal attack turned themselves in to authorities Tuesday night.
The attacked happened Sunday around 7:30 p.m. near the restrooms at 6th Street and Ocean Drive.
“We were coming out of the bathroom and they started hitting on us, punching us, and kicking us when we were on the floor. They had no reason to, basically killing us,” said Rene.
“They were calling us faggots,” said Dmitry. “They were Spanish speaking and they called us faggots and there was fighting and I know this was gay pride.”
Rene said he still doesn’t know what happened to provoke the four men into attacking them.
“I feel kinda like stressed, like overwhelmed, like, I don’t know, I’ve been thinking about it over and over again, yet I don’t get any conclusion,” he said.
“It seems like they wanted to kill us because if you see the video it seems like there were a lot of people beating him and me,” said Dmitry.
Police released surveillance video of the attack that shows the men hitting Rene and Dmitry, who attempted run away.
A man who saw Rene and Dmitry being chased tried to help. He was hit and knocked to the ground by the suspects.
Dmitry said what was so disturbing was that the attack happened right out in the open.
“I’m very scared because of the environment in which it happened, there was a lot of people and luckily there was a gentleman who wanted to help us and he got injured as well by these people,” said Dmitry.
That man who tried to help, Helmut Muller, was also beaten and ended up needing staples in the back of his head.
“I thought I was doing the right thing. I was trying. I didn’t do enough,” he said. “It’s a disrespect for the whole community. We were celebrating love and equality and I guess it’s not there yet. We still need to work on it.”
Rene and Dmitry said they’ve received a lot of support, even from people they don’t even know, which they find heartening.
“We feel that we are not alone, that’s for sure and we want to thank everyone for that,” said Dmitry.
Both Rene and Dmitry want to see justice prevail.
“I really want to see them caught because we need to get them off the street so nothing like this will happen again,” said Rene.
They may get their wish as late Tuesday afternoon the four suspects turned themselves in to Miami Beach Police.
Police identify the four suspects wanted in the brutal attack as Juan Lopez, Luis Alonso, Adonis Diaz and Pablo Reinaldo Romo.
The four men, all in their early 20’s, were placed in handcuffs and booked into Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center after turning themselves in through their attorney.
CBS4’s Amber Diaz spoke with the victims after they learned the news.
When asked if they felt happy that the men were behind bars, their response was a surprising one.
“No, this kind of thing doesn’t make me happy,” Rene said. “We were happy before the fight. I don’t know how I feel partially because I’m thinking of their families.”
Regardless of whether it was a guilty conscience or the fear that police would get them sooner than later, Dmitry and Rene say they have a long way to go in the healing process.
Not just with their physical scars, but also with their hearts.
“He was the one who tried to defend me,” Dmitry said of Rene. “Love will still win.”
According to MBPD, the State Attorney’s Office will now decide if the “Hate Crime” enhancement will be added to their charges.
For now, the four men are each being charged with three counts of aggravated battery.
If prosecutors agree that this was a hate crime, there would be enhanced penalties.