ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. -- It was supposed to be a normal day at the apartment complex pool for Nick Shores and his boyfriend. They held hands as they walked through the gate to the pool area. That's when everything changed.
"He said what are you looking at fa---t," Shores described "And he attacked me."
"He" was Long Hoang, an Aurora man who sat silently in an Arapahoe County Court Monday afternoon for his actions in June of last year.
Arrest documents describe Hoang repeatedly punching Shores in the face, then with the help of other friends, they choked him and repeatedly smashed his face into the concrete.
"He told my boyfriend he was going to go get a gun to 'kill this fa---t,'" Shores described.
The attacker would return to the pool, according to witnesses, with a metal baseball bat. Shores was able to regain consciousness and escape without further injuries.
"That was him trying to kill me because I am gay and nothing else," Shores said.
He suffered several broken bones and a severe concussion.
Hoang took a guilty plea to the crime as a bias-related assault. He was sentenced by a judge to three years in prison.
"I'm very happy to see, and I believe justice was handed down today," Shores told Denver7.
Hoang's defense attorney disagreed.
"He is is not the poster child for the hate crimes law. It was a guy who got in a fight. He was drunk. He was stupid. He made a mistake," attorney Michael Uwate said.
Hoang had made statements to police that were read in court claiming he never knew Shores was gay. Denver7 reporter Jason Gruenauer asked Uwate about those claims.
"It wasn’t gay bashing. He was drunk. He was a drunken fool," he said about his client.
"Others should be able to see that this type of behavior, this type of crime is not tolerated in our society," Shores countered.
Something the judge referenced while in court were the long-term injuries that Shores suffered. The attack derailed his education.
He had been working at a local university as a research assistant and developing compounds and chemicals to de-pollute water sources. That research has been put on hold as his body heals.