Police are investigating a suspected hate crime after a group of men beat two gay Fort Carson soldiers and others while shouting anti-homosexual and racial slurs.
The victims told KRDO-TV they believe they were targeted at a fast food restaurant early Saturday because they're gay.
Two victims are Fort Carson soldiers, who asked to remain anonymous because being identified as homosexual could harm their military careers.
"I'm a tanker, said a gay soldier identified as John.
In a combat unit, John said, homosexuality "is definitely frowned upon," according to KRDO.
Another victim, called Ted, said that most of his Army peers know he is gay.
But I don't need people higher up knowing," he told KRDO. "I still have to protect myself as far as on the military side.
The two men said they were out at a nightclub with a group of friends early Saturday morning and went to grab something to eat afterward.
(We) went to Albert Tacos after leaving the nightclub where we work at, Ted told the news station.
John added that some of his friends are go-go dancers at a local club.
"As soon as we walked in, there was a group of African American males that walked in," John said. And they started a confrontation with us because of the fact that one of our go-gos was still in his outfit.
The victims said it started as a verbal confrontation.
A lot of racial slurs, John told KRDO. A lot of hatred slurs towards like homosexuals.
The men said it quickly escalated to physical violence.
I ended up getting kicked in the head and in the ribs several times, John said. I have six bruised ribs. And my right eye was completely swollen shut for about nine or 10 hours.
According to police, another victim was treated for a facial fracture. His jaw had to be wired shut.
Police said they are looking in to the possibility of hate crime charges if the assailants are arrested.
"If (the attack was) based on ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, we can charge people with (a hate crime)," Colorado Springs police Lt. Pat Rigdon told KOAA-TV.
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