VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A night out on the town turned terribly violent for a local couple who says they were the target of a hate crime.
The pictures taken Sunday morning of Braden Brecht and his boyfriend, Virginia Beach native Carl Craven, are shocking and disturbing.
“We were just talking closely, and out of nowhere this guy just gets in our face and yells, 'F-----,'” said Craven. “They were just beating him senselessly.”
The couple was out on U Street in Washington, D.C., near the gay district - a place they say they normally feel very safe.
Brecht got the worst of the attack.
“Just seeing the image of 10 guys on top of him - I never forget that,” said Craven.
They said the suspects were screaming hateful slurs while taking turns in the attack.
“I remember being on the ground and seeing a group of guys taking turns hitting me on the right and left, hitting me and hitting me,” said Brecht.
Brecht needs dental work to replace teeth and fix his teeth that were cracked.
“I have knots everywhere, I have back pain and really bad migraines,” said Brecht.
“I read about stuff like this all the time and it makes me mad, but when I happens to you, it’s like, unreal. I don’t think I have fully processed it,” said Craven.
Craven is a student at Old Dominion University.
The couple had only been in D.C. for a month because Craven was interning in Alexandria.
Police said there were multiple robberies that night.
They say in this case, they arrested four people, including several minors.
They say this is being investigated as a hate crime.
“Anyone right there in that moment could’ve been attacked, but we specifically were attacked because they saw that we were gay,” said Craven.
Their loved ones are angry.
“With all the injuries to the head, it really seems like they had an intention of trying to hurt Braden and Carl,” said Jessica Craven, Carl’s sister.
“I just hate that it’s 2019 and people literally still feel the need to behave this way,” said Karlie Brecht, Braden’s sister.
Now, the horror of what happens continues to impact them.
“I close my eyes, and I see them hitting me and hitting me,” said Brecht.
Anyone with information about what happened that night or has video or pictures is asked to contact the Metro Police.
The couple has a GoFundMe account to help pay for Braden's medical costs. They said he doesn't have insurance.
Click here if you'd like to donate.