News (USA)

Police investigate alleged gay bashing by four Marines outside Long Beach bar

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Police in Long Beach, Calif., are investigating an assault involving four U.S. Marine Corps’ personnel who allegedly attacked a film student from San Dimas, Calif., and beat him unconscious outside the Silver Fox, a popular gay-patronized establishment.

According to Long Beach Police Department spokeswoman Nancy Pratt, officers responded to the Silver Fox at around 2 a.m. Monday, and based on a preliminary investigation, “it was determined that an assault had occurred” by several male suspects after they had left the establishment.

“I remember blacking out,” the victim told KCBS-TV. “All I remember is being put next to the curb, He starts pushing me and calling me fag. I told him I was gonna call police,” according to a report by KCBS-TV.

The victim has asked that his face and identity not be revealed, “I don’t want them to see who I am. They have friends out there.”

Pratt added that two bystanders who came to the aid of the victim were also beaten. One of the victims was transported to local hospital, with what Pratt described as “non-life-threatening injuries.”

Arrested were Lance Cpl. Lewis Serna; Pfc. Thomas Pentek; Pfc. Sean Miller and Lance Cpl. John O’Leary.

In an interview with Long Beach Press-Telegram, Silver Fox Manager John Barnes said the four men entered the bar late Sunday or early Monday and at least one of the alleged attackers, who seemed visibly uncomfortable while at the bar, called Barnes “sweetheart.”

“You could tell by the tone of his voice that he was uncomfortable, he was making a demeaning remark,” Barnes said.

The attack occurred as the bar was closing, with the primary suspect punching the victim, who was described as “much smaller,” according to Barnes.

Pratt said that uniformed officers responded within minutes and the four Marines were arrested on charges of assault and battery. She said that LBPD Violent Crimes Division detectives are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime attack, and will present their case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office later Wednesday, at which point the District Attorney’s Office will determine what the appropriate charges are to be filed.

A spokesperson for USMC Base Camp Pendleton, where the four Marines are stationed, declined to comment other than to confirm that Marine Corps investigators were also looking into the incident.

The Marines have posted bail and returned to their units.

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