Police in the small Texas town of Springtown, located northwest of Fort Worth, are investigating a possible hate crime in a brutal and bloody attack on a gay man after he arranged a meeting with another young man using the mobile app called MeetMe.
The victim, Arron Keahey, 24, said his first contact with the 18-year-old suspect, Brice Johnson, was through the phone app. Keahey went over to the teen's house about an hour later — thinking he was gay or bisexual — and was attacked.
Read more on the story and watch a report from WFAA-TV below the jump.
Keahey said he was attacked and ambushed almost immediately. The attack left him beaten, bloody and bruised, reported WFAA-TV.
“He started getting all frustrated and talking all angrily,” Keahey said. “I don't remember anything after that.”
The attack left Keahey with broken facial bones that required plastic surgery. Keahey also suffered nerve damage and had some of his teeth knocked out.
Police say they received a 911 call from Johnson, who told officers he found Keahey outside his house in the trunk of a car. Police later arrested Johnson and charged him with aggravated assault, causing serious bodily injury.
“I've been up here altogether 10 years, and this is the first hate crime or possible hate crime that I've investigated,” said Springtown police Lt. Curtis Stone.
The victim showed the police and reporters photos of the marks left on his neck and wrists. Both Keahey and Johnson say they don't remember much about what happened during the actual attack.
“Unfortunately, with him not being able to recall anything that happened, and the suspect claiming that he doesn't recall, I don't have any answers why those are there,” Lt. Stone said.
Keahey is convinced the attack was done because he's gay.
“Why would they have you under the belief that they're gay or bisexual or whatever they say you are, and have them show up and do what they did?” Keahey asked.
Police are treating the incident as a possible hate crime.
While sexual orientation is included in Texas hate crime laws, according to hate crime statistics from the Texas Department of Public Safety, since Texas enacted its hate crime law back in 2001, more than 2500 hate crimes offenses have been reported. Of those crimes, only 11 have been prosecuted.
The law currently does not cover attacks based on gender identity.
Keahey said he has learned a painful lesson. “Just don't meet anybody online,” he said. “Don't trust them.”
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