Officials Consider Hate Crime Charges for Miami Pride Attackers

· Updated on May 29, 2018

The four men who attacked a gay couple at Miami Beach Pride surrendered themselves to police Tuesday, but victims of the attack say the arrest does not quell the nightmare they are living.

The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office is investigating the matter as a possible hate crime.

Dmitry Logunov, tells INTO he does not know how to return to normal life after four unknown men attacked him and his boyfriend, Rene Chalarca, outside a restroom Sunday.

“We’ve literally been in panic full-time,” Logunov said. “No sleep, nothing. This is a nightmare. I never thought I would get in this situation. I want to get out of it as soon as possible.”

The couple was assaulted by four men during the 10th Anniversary Miami Beach Pride Celebration after they shared a hug.

One of the men shouted “maricones,” Spanish for “faggot” before beating Chalarca. The men chased the couple as they tried to flee.

A bystander, Helmut Muller, attempted to stop the men and was knocked to the ground. He was transported to the hospital with a head laceration.

Police had been asking for the public’s help in identifying the four assailants, caught on video surveillance footage outside the restroom.

On Tuesday, Miami Beach Police announced via Twitter that all four alleged attackers had surrendered themselves to police via an attorney.

The four have been identified as Juan Carlos Lopez, 21; Luis M. Alonso Piovet, 20; Adonis Diaz, 21 and Pablo Reinaldo Romo-Figueroa, 21. They each face three counts of aggravated battery. They have been released on bail.

Police say it is now up to the Miami-Dade State Attorney to determine if the incident should be charged as a hate crime.

Logunov says there is no question in his mind that the incident was a hate crime.

“It was purely a hate crime because after my boyfriend got beat up they were still chasing him and they still threatened him,” he said. “They were asking him if he ‘wants to get some more faggot.’ So can you consider it as any other crime?”

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said on Twitter that her Hate Crimes unit has been investigating the incident with police since the incident on Sunday.

“I can assure you [and] our community that my Hate Crimes Unit will evaluate this incident thoroughly,” she wrote.

While Logunov says he and Chalarca are glad the case is moving forward, the arrests have done little to relieve the trauma of the incident.

“All I want is for this to be finished,” he said. “We were celebrating love and equality [at Miami Pride]. “We’ve been happy together. We’re a new couple, a lot of feelings and love between us. We were happy walking home. And that happened to us.”

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