A man was beaten to the point that his jaw was broken in two places. The reason? FBI agents suspect his attackers thought he was gay.
28-year-old Trevor Gray from Wayne County, Mississippi recently moved to a new home in the county, according to the Jackson Clarion Ledger. Looking to make friends, Gray visited a local bar on the night of April 12th.
It seemed Gray hit it off well with locals, as he joined a group by the end of the night. The group then decided to go somewhere private after the bar closed at 2 a.m. 32-year-old Landon McCaa offered his own home as their new hangout spot and the party transitioned there.
While everything seemed fine for a couple hours of drinking outside the home, a fight soon broke out. According to Trevor’s brother Cruz Gray, who’s an attorney, “one of the guys there decided he didn’t like [Trevor,] that he was getting on his nerves.”
While police and prosecutors have yet to find a clear motive, there is some suspicion that homophobia and hate were at play. Anti-gay speech was used during the altercation explained below. As such, the FBI is investigating whether hate crime charges should be added, according to the Sun Herald.
“He’s not gay, but it wouldn’t matter if he were,” said Cruz Gray. “No one deserves for this to happen to them.”
Back to the fight, surveillance footage from under McCaa’s carport shows someone calling out Trevor’s name. McCaa is then seen saying, “Are y’all ready?” Gray then received a punch to the face. The rest of the video shows Gray getting beaten up with McCaa incessantly attacking him from above. Meanwhile, no one else from the group tries to intervene.
According to Wayne County Sherriff Jody Ashley, the video cut out then, but the fight continued. A 28-year-old man named Toman Sion Brown then joined the beating of Trevor Gray. According to Cruz Gray, Brown first appeared as if he was going to help Trevor. Trevor Gray reached out his left hand to help the man up. But then, Brown punched Gray with his right hand.
After the two continued to beat Trevor Grey, a man inside the house came outside to pull McCaa and Brown off of Gray. He then told Gray to “Run! Just go! Leave!” while holding back McCaa and Brown.
Once home, Trevor Gray fell unconscious on his couch. After waking up, he sent his brother Cruz a picture of his face and injuries. Cruz then told his brother to seek medical help.
Once at the hospital, doctors found that Gray’s jaw was broken in two places. He then went through surgery and had his mouth wired shut.
“For as long as I can remember, my family has taught me to see the best in others,” he wrote in an email to the Clarion Ledger. “My peace in this situation comes from that. So, for those wondering, I’m not angry or vengeful; I’m not sad. I’m optimistic. The events of that night are small when weighed against the incredible amount of love and support people have shown me.”
McCaa and Brown have now been charged with a felony charge of aggravated assault, according to Fox News. Plus, there is that possibility of hate crime charges being added.
Meanwhile, Trevor Gray is in recovery but is keeping his spirits high.
“Thinking about it, seeing the images of it, I don’t and will likely never understand it,” he wrote. “All I know for sure is that it won’t change who I am. There is always a bright side, always positive in any situation. I have always believed this, maybe to a fault, but that’s just who I am. The outreach I’ve received in response to these events proves that point.”
He added, “My mouth will be wired up for the next several weeks, so if you see me and I don’t smile, know that I’m smiling on the inside. Most importantly, believe in the good, give someone a hug, and stay positive.”