Gay Illinois State student claims attack was a hate crime

Eric Unger, a student at Illinois State University, had to have his jaw wired shut after he was beaten off campus on April 21, 2012.

CBS Chicago)

(CBS) DEERFIELD, Ill. – An Illinois State University student who was beaten over the weekend claims he was targeted because he’s gay.

CBS Chicago reports that Eric Unger, who was beaten so badly his jaw had to be wired shut, was attacked early Saturday morning.

Unger says he was walking home alone when someone knocked his cell phone out of his hand. He claims he was then attacked by a group of six to eight African-Americans, CBS Chicago reports. He says his attackers used anti-gay slurs.

“Saying ‘I’m gonna beat your ass.’ Things like ‘I’ll kill you,’ like ‘You’re a f**,’” Unger said.

According to the Chicago Phoenix, Unger was taken to a hospital with broken teeth and two broken bones in his jaws, plus scrapes on his face and left elbow.

He believes the group targeted him because he’s openly gay.

“I know this is a hate crime, just because of the words that they said and just how they were saying it,” Unger said. “You know, if there was a group of white guys, you know, attacking a black guy, saying [discriminatory] words to him, that would be a hate crime, wouldn’t it?”

Police say they do not know if it was a hate crime, and they don’t have any suspects, reports CBS Chicago. They say there were no witnesses.

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