Suspects accused of beating gay couple in Miami Beach released on bail
4 men face felony charges in attack, police say
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Four men accused of attacking a gay couple in Miami Beach following the city's Gay Pride Parade on Sunday were released from jail Wednesday morning.
The suspects were accompanied by their attorney Tuesday as they surrendered to authorities.
Miami Beach police said each suspect faces felony aggravated assault charges. They were identified as Juan C. Lopez, Adonis Diaz, Pablo Reinaldo Romo-Figueroa, all 21, and Luis Alonso-Piovet, 20.
Police said the state attorney's office will decide whether the men will face a "hate crime" enhancement in addition to the existing charges.
"That makes me happy that, at least, they were nice enough to admit that they committed the crimes," said Dimitri Lugonov, one of the victims. "It's not over yet, but the main part is done."
Lugonov and Rene Chalarca told police they were attacked by a group of men after they shared a hug while waiting to use a restroom at Lumus Park in the 500 block of Ocean Drive.
According to an arrest affidavit, one of the suspects bumped into one of the victims before words were exchanged.
Police said the suspects started shouting gay slurs in Spanish and then began throwing punches, beating the men so badly that one told police he was unconscious after several hits to his head.
"I fell on the ground and somebody started beating me up. I didn't even see the faces," Logunov said. "It was that quick. He tried to protect me."
"He hit him, and then I grabbed the guy, and he was already on the floor, and the other people came and started hitting him," Chalarca said.
According to a police report, a bystander who saw the attack and tried to intervene was pushed to the ground and suffered a cut to the back of his head.
"We confronted the guys and asked them, 'What the hell? Why did you guys do that? That's unfair.' And that's all I remember," Helmut Estrada said.
Police said Chalarca and Lugonov had cuts and bruises on their faces and were treated by paramedics at the scene. Estrada was taken to Mount Sinai Medical Center for treatment.
Chalarca and Lugonov believe they were targeted because they are gay.
"We were together. So for me, it's like, yes, it was a hate crime," Chalarca said.
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