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Texas gay man attacked at private party, claims assault was a hate crime

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

RENO, Lamar County, Texas — An openly gay Texas man was brutally attacked at a private party early Sunday, sustaining second-degree burns and severe bruises, and requiring over 30 stitches to close stab wounds to his torso, forearm, and forehead near his left eye.

In an initial report published by the Dallas Voice, Burke Burnett, 26, said he was at a private party at about 1 a.m. Sunday when four men suddenly attacked him, stabbing him at least twice with a broken beer bottle before throwing him onto a lit burn barrel.

Dallas Voice

Burke Burnett

According to Burnett, his assailants were yelling the epithets “pussy-ass faggot,” “gay bitch” and “cock-sucking punk,” during the attack.

“They knew I was gay,” Burnett told the Voice on Monday. “I’m convinced they were trying to kill me.”

But one police official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told LGBTQ Nation on Tuesday that there are two sides to this incident, and that investigators were exploring the possibility that the attack may have been provoked, and not influenced by the victim’s sexual orientation.

The official did indicate that police investigators were aware of the identities of the four men involved and were continuing the investigation. The source did emphasize that the Reno police were taking the attack very seriously, but no decision had been made as to possible charges.

Burnett said the officer investigating the case told him the attack will be classified as a hate crime. But Burnett said his attackers, whose identities are known, remain at large, and the officer told him it could be two weeks before they’re arrested.

“I’m scared for my life,” Burnett said, adding that he’s staying with a family friend. “I’m scared to go home. These guys have nothing to lose.”

Burnett said he grew up in Paris and came out as gay when he was 15. He knows at least one of his attackers personally. Two of the suspects have been to prison and may be on parole, he said.

Burnett said he’s attended several parties at the residence and was invited by his straight friend who lives there. He arrived at the party several hours earlier with three gay friends. However, the group left after someone at the party was overheard making anti-gay remarks such as, “These faggots don’t deserve to be here. Somebody needs to get them out of there.”

Burnett said he didn’t hear the remarks and wasn’t aware of them when he returned to the party later in the evening with one of his girlfriends.

In a statement released Monday, police chief Jeffery Sugg said, “The Reno Police Department is currently investigating an aggravated assault that took place last weekend. The investigation is ongoing and additional information will be provided when available.”

Reno Mayor William Heuberger, told LGBTQ Nation on Tuesday that he felt that the police department would do a through and fair job of investigating the incident, and that he would abstain from comment until the police investigation was completed.

The Mayor also said that he didn’t feel that the actions of the four men were reflective of the overall values of the community nor of its citizens.

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Filed under: Texas

32 more reader comments:

  1. I think any attack on anyone in general is a hate crime.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 10:20pm
  2. It was, based on the Queerty article.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 10:20pm
  3. so fkn what. welcome to my daily betch. stop whining. buy an A-K

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 10:21pm
  4. This sickens me, arrest the punks who did this already!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 10:23pm
  5. that is messed up

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 10:34pm
  6. Will it ever stop? :o(

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 10:37pm
  7. It will Kaja… lets have faith and n work so it never happens again…

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 10:39pm
  8. so terrible

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 10:42pm
  9. thats sooo fucked up how can ppl act like this we love who we love god get over it! -__-

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 10:42pm
  10. it will keep happening

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 10:42pm
  11. Man when will that kinda shit stop? We must stop all this hate.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 10:46pm
  12. Look, I may live in an incredibly embracing city. But the people I run with hang out with the people that do this kind of shit. All of the ones I run with look down on it, but will understand that ignorance and intolerance is a learned personality trait. So what do I do when those people come at me? Lay down an ass whoopin they never expected. I am not a Long Beach Gay, I am just straight up Long Beach Legend. I know a lot of you do not condone violence, nor do I, but just because they are straight does not mean they are tougher, or stronger, or more dominate or superior. Get involved with any type of self defense class, hang with people who have your back, and watch over your own damn shoulder. Wish I could have been there at the party… I would have had his back in a second. Where were his friends? Oh and anyone says his friends with girls… the tiny little pretty girls I know, I have watched choke and punch out dudes bigger than me. No excuse his friends could not have backed him up. House parties offer multiple weapons, grab a lamp, or a vase, hell the beer bottle in your hand, liquor bottles in the kitchen. When you are protecting yourself or others do work. Attacking someone that has done nothing to you makes you a coward.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 10:47pm
  13. Our nation is pathetic.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 10:49pm
  14. I hope someday people will learn that violence solves nothing it just brings more violence.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 10:49pm
  15. I agree with that dude that he should sue. I would. Shit!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 10:49pm
  16. Btw Long Beach Legend is a term meaning born and raised public school systems heavy ties in the streets… doesn’t mean you are a bad ass or apart of some gang. Its just a term for well known Locals, big city small town mentality.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 10:49pm
  17. That is so sad. I wish you the best in a fast recovery.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 10:53pm
  18. :,(
    So sad and cruel.
    I hope those responsible get what they deserve>:(

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 10:59pm
  19. I would fight back. Hell yeah! My daddy was in the army and taught me self preservation. He also raised me to never hit a woman or a guy weaker than me…unless they start it. I usually am quicker with words than fists. Down right confuse the shit out of ignorant assholes.
    Wonder what my daddy would say if he found out his daughter likes boys AND girls? (Ironically, my dad and mom are major homophobes..thank goodness for my gram and great gram were there to show me acceptance and love. Mom found out I am bi..wanted me committed…gram found out.her response? ‘So what?!’ Old people surprise me some times)

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 11:06pm
  20. Why are there so many terrible people in the world!??! God Bless this person & be there through this hard time in life. I hope the attackers are brought to justice. God please save this world from all the hatred. It doesn’t make any sense how some people get so mad & express so much hate to something that has nothing at all to do with them. All we need is Love & Faith, it’s a shame how some people just don’t see that. Don’t let this scare ya’ll though, (fellow LGBTQAI) just keep being who you are. The Good will outweigh the evil one day.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 11:08pm
  21. ugly homophib´sthe fear of differnce and over-religiousness

    Posted on Wednesday, November 2, 2011 at 1:06am
  22. @Kayla Rochelle
    Yeah I agree w ya but if I was there & that was my friend that got gay bash likt this poor guy did I would been the one chager w a hate crime against the 3 fuckers who beat up this poor guy because I know how I am on fucken homophobic assholes…seriously my 6’7″ 270lb ass would of crush them… this story got my blood boiled…

    Posted on Wednesday, November 2, 2011 at 1:24am
  23. Telling ya Welcome the day someone trys this hate crime gay bashing shit on me because Im definitely the wrong openly gay man to fuck w I would kill a fucker who would try…

    Posted on Wednesday, November 2, 2011 at 1:27am
  24. Wish I was there for this dude because it would of been him in pain..

    Posted on Wednesday, November 2, 2011 at 1:28am
  25. Wouldnt

    Posted on Wednesday, November 2, 2011 at 1:29am
  26. I’d really appreciate it if those fuckin’ dumbass cops would do there jobs and arrest them now instead of 2 weeks. That gives those fuckers 2 weeks to come up with those excuses: I didn’t know what I was doing. I wasn’t myself, I never hurt a fly. And some other BS I’m sure they’ll try to make up just to get out of what they did. They all deserve the same sentence, at least 10-20 years. And if they drop the soap, oh well, we won’t care. Get a better grip on it next time idiots. Better yet, get a grip in reality cause you’re not going to get away with what you did. If the police don’t do there job, someone else will. (Too disgusted to go to that state Texas, that’s where that dumbass president George W. Bush was from)

    Posted on Wednesday, November 2, 2011 at 5:27am
  27. i would really fight out right being a human we are all human bean so whatever our orientation are we need to respect it..for those man who attacked you are such an idiot and asshole… go LGBT nations…fight our rights as a ladyboy,,,i am proud to be ladyboy and they need to respect my right cz i am also human bean…gogogo fight…….hope those means will be in prison as soon as possible…….

    Posted on Wednesday, November 2, 2011 at 6:07am
  28. TexASS

    Posted on Wednesday, November 2, 2011 at 7:07am
  29. it is texas what do you expect there is nothing but homophobes there

    Posted on Wednesday, November 2, 2011 at 7:19am
  30. I wish him a quick recovery and I am not happy for what he had to go through…

    Posted on Wednesday, November 2, 2011 at 10:57am
  31. Please CALL the Mayor of Reno and let him know we will not stand by when a hate crime happens and is not persecuted as one! Call and email your Senators and anyone else you can… Below is the Governor, Senators, White house and the mayor of Reno, Tx!

    Web Site:
    E-mail: Contact Via ‘Web Form.’
    PO Box 12428
    Austin, TX 78711-2428
    Phone: (512) 463-2000
    Fax: (512) 463-1849

    Honorable Buddy Heuberger, Mayor
    City Hall
    160 Blackburn Street
    Reno, TX 75462-7152
    Phone: 903-785-6581

    Posted on Wednesday, November 2, 2011 at 6:43pm
  32. This is exactly why I’m not moving to Texas with my mom.

    Posted on Wednesday, November 2, 2011 at 9:11pm