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Reward Offered in Austin Gay Bashing Attack

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday January 25, 2019

There's now an $11,000 reward being offered for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for a savage attack allegedly carried out by a group of men in Austin against a gay couple, reports local newspaper the Austin American-Statesman.

As reported previously at EDGE, the couple — identified in reports as Spencer Deehring and Tristan Perry — had left a gay bar in the early morning hours of Jan. 19 when a man hurled a gay slur at them.

According to Deehring, the man then signaled to "four or five others," at which point the group allegedly beat and kicked the two.

Perry posted about the incident later on Jan. 19, recounting how the man who he says accosted him and Deehring "called us 'faggots' and then punched me in my face breaking my nose then when i fell to the ground they continued to kick me in the back of the head until i went unconscious."

Deehring said that he saw the kick to the head that left Perry unconscious, and told the media that he was "fairly certain that that kick had just killed him." Nonetheless, Deehring rushed into the fray in an attempt to protect Perry and was also assaulted and left unconscious.

Perry posted his sentiments about Deehring's courageous attempt to defend him against the mob of attackers:

if he wasn't there with me, i don't know if i'd be able to write this post, god only knows what would have happened to me. he stepped in and risked his safety for me, and for that i cannot put into words how thankful i am and how blessed i am to have such a wonderful man in my life.

Far from offering words of hatred in the vein of how they were treated, the couple instead spoke out with a message of compassion for their assailants, reported CBS Austen, expressing the "hope that the attackers can find love in their hearts in the future to accept others for who they are no matter race religion gender sexuality hate doesn't have anywhere to hide."

Deehring added encouragement for same-sex couples like himself and Perry, saying, "There's no reason to live in fear there's no reason that these atrocities should affect how much you think about yourself and your self-worth."

Austin police are looking at the attack as a hate crime. The reward money comes from a number of downtown Austin businesses, with two bars - Rain on 4th and Oilcan Harry's — initially putting up $5,000. When more businesses chipped in — including Austin Playhouse, Cyclistlaw Attorneys, Texas Motorcycle and Bike Crash Lawyers, and R-Events — the reward amount grew to $11,000, reported local ABC affiliate KTXS.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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