Masked men in Dallas beat gay actor to a pulp with wooden pole

Derek Whitener

Police in Dallas have released surveillance photographs of two men wanted in Saturday’s savage attack on a gay man outside a Target store.

DallasAttackDallas Police

Derek Whitener, 33, suffered a fractured skull and had to have emergency surgery to stop bleeding in his brain after the men struck him with a large wooden dowel, measuring 3-feet in length.

Police say his assailants were wearing gorilla masks when they confronted him as he exited the store with groceries; they threatened him, then beat him. Some media accounts contradict the statement by detectives, reporting one of the men wore a ski mask.

Victor Brockwell, left, with his partner, Derek WhitenerDerek Whitener

Victor Brockwell, left, with his partner, Derek Whitener

Whitener’s partner, Victor Brockwell, shared the photos and the detectives’ description of the suspects on his Facebook page:

According to the Dallas Voice, the men did not rob Whitener, and because he is gay, “some of the victim’s friends are calling the attack an anti-gay hate crime.”

Whitener is the artistic and education director at The Firehouse Theatre in Dallas, and just prior to the attack he had performed in a production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” Whitener is pictured second from right in the Facebook cover photo below.

“Before his surgery he was having difficulty forming words – a horrifying thing for someone as smart and quick-witted as Derek,” said their friend Brina Wingo, according to Gay Star News.

“They believe the surgery was a success but won’t sure until the swelling subsides.”

Whitener_HospitalDerek Whitener

The neurosurgeon told her the hematoma in Whitener’s brain was gone, Wingo said Tuesday, but a large swelling was still affecting his speech and motor functions.

Wingo has set up a GoFundMe account to help the couple with Whitener’s enormous medical bills. In just two days, more than 1,400 friends have already raised in excess of $73K toward its goal of $100,000.

Watch a report from KTVT in Dallas about the search for Whitener’s attackers, below:

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