BY PETER JONES
Long Ngoc Hoang
A 29-year-old man who physically attacked a gay couple will spend three years in prison. Long Ngoc Hoang had pleaded guilty Aug. 11 to one count of a bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury.
The incident occurred in June 2016, when Hoang attacked Nick Shores and his boyfriend at the swimming pool of an Arapahoe County apartment complex. Shores has been outspoken about being victimized and agreed for his identity to be made public.
“Please take into account the gross violence of this situation. The attack was only because I am gay, and there are many other gay people out there,” Shores told District Judge Ben Leutwyler. “This gives us the opportunity to set a precedent for others in our community that violence against gays will not be tolerated.”
Shores and witnesses told sheriff’s deputies that the attack was unprovoked, saying it occurred after Shores and his boyfriend walked into the swimming pool area together and Hoang called them a sexual epithet.
Hoang attacked the two men, punching Shores in the head. Shores described being choked from behind by another suspect before falling to the ground and becoming unconscious as his head was pounded into the concrete. Shores’s boyfriend tried to defend him and also was injured.
Hoang was heard to utter, “I am going to get my gun and kill these fools,” as he left the pool area and the two men fled, according to witnesses.
Hoang later returned with a baseball bat, witnesses reported. Bystanders closed the gate to keep him out of the pool area as he banged the bat on the fence. Hoang continued to yell homosexual slurs.
“You violently attacked a young man who had done absolutely nothing,” the judge told Hoang prior to imposing the sentence. “The way you beat Mr. Shores is unfathomable. I cannot understand that conduct. … You had the opportunity to stop, but you went and retrieved another weapon. You have certainly wronged my community, your community and everyone else’s.”
District Attorney George Brauchler was pleased at the outcome and praised the victim.
“What’s remarkable about this case is the strength of the victim. In some cases like this, victims don’t report, and if they don’t for whatever reason, we don’t have the opportunity to prosecute,” Brauchler said. “Our laws, this prosecution and the sentence to prison are strong indicators that Colorado is committed to relegating this kind of bigoted violence to the dustbin of history.”
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