Two gay men were holding hands while walking home from a nightclub early Sunday morning in Denver when a man attacked the couple, stabbing them multiple times.
“We were just walking and I guess he didn’t like what he saw ... that we were holding hands,” Chris Huizar, 19, told local outlet 9News on Sunday.
Huizar and his boyfriend, Gabriel Roman, 23, were walking home from a dance club called The Church just after midnight when the two said they heard a man yell “fuckin’ faggots” before he attacked the couple with a folding knife. Huizar was stabbed in the neck and Roman was stabbed in the hand and back before they were able to escape.
The couple called the police and were taken to the hospital immediately where, according to Gay Star News, Roman received 30 internal stitches and 52 stitches on his hand. The wounds were not life-threatening, Denver police spokesman Sgt. John White told The Denver Post.
“Just seeing him in my arms bleeding, I don’t know, I just didn’t want him to die,” Huizar told 9News while fighting back tears.
Police arrested 24-year-old Dylan Payne on Sunday on suspicion of first-degree assault, according to The Denver Post. Detectives are currently investigating the attack as a hate crime.
“We are not letting this define us. We love each other and wouldn’t want this to happen to anyone [else],” Huizar told Gay Star News. “I’m just thankful we’re alive.”
Roman told 9News: “We just know that we can get through anything now and that’s just going to make us that much stronger.”