Suspects Accused of Beating Gay Couple on South Beach Surrender - NECN
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Suspects Accused of Beating Gay Couple on South Beach Surrender

Police had been searching for four men who were caught on camera during attack after gay pride parade

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Men Accused of Attacking Gay Couple May Face More Charges

    The four men accused of attacking a gay couple on Miami Beach - Pablo Reinaldo Romo, Juan Lopez, Adonis Diaz and Luis Alonso - may face hate crime charges, prosecutors say.

    (Published Wednesday, April 11, 2018)

    The suspects seen on video attacking a gay couple on South Beach after last weekend's gay pride parade were taken into police custody after turning themselves in Tuesday, officials said.

    Miami Beach Police confirmed that the four men who were sought in the assault surrendered through their attorney around 5:30 p.m. They were identified by police as Luis M. Alonso, 20, and 21-year-olds Juan C. Lopez, Adonis Diaz and Pablo Reinaldo Romo.

    Records showed the men were charged with multiple counts of aggravated battery. All four left jail Wednesday morning without speaking with reporters.

    "It happened on a day of celebration, Gay pride day on Miami Beach which is an opportunity for people to celebrate who they are and be who they want to be. And then to be unexpectedly attacked, brutally, very violent attack and then they fled is just shameful, it’s intolerable, it’s despicable," Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said. "Fortunately there was a tape."

    According to police, Rene Chalarca and Dmitry Logunov were standing near public restrooms in the 500 block of Lummus Park when they were randomly attacked by the four men Sunday.

    "We probably provoked them because we were walking together, holding hands. It was gay pride, South Beach was full of gay people," said Logunov.

    According to an arrest report, the incident began when Logunov and Romo bumped into each other near the restrooms.

    Police said the victims were called gay slurs in Spanish during the attack. They started to run away and were chased by the suspects and punched repeatedly, police said.

    "Obviously it is despicable, obviously our city takes it seriously, obviously we are going to do everything we can to investigate it and I think this committee is an appropriate place to discuss it," Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said at Tuesday's meeting of the city's LGBTQ advisory panel.

    Helmut Muller Estrada, a good Samaritan who tried to break up the attack, was also punched and had to be hospitalized.

    "I was angry, a lot of people standing around doing nothing. It sucks, man, that we live in a society where they're judged based on sexual orientation," Estrada said Tuesday. "I just wanted to help."

    Miami Beach Police said the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office will decide if the hate crime enhancement will be added to the charges.

    "There’s a state statute that allows these kinds of aggressive behaviors, these attacks, these beatings to be enhanced. It moves it from a second degree felony to a first degree felony," Fernandez Rundle said.