Family says beaten teen girl is a victim of a hate crime

Published: Jul. 18, 2012 at 3:32 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 18, 2012 at 3:58 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A teen girl is recovering at home after being injured in an attack by a group of adults.  Her family said after talking with police, they believe she's a victim of a hate crime.

It happened early Tuesday morning on Taylor Boulevard near Wyandotte Park.

The girl, who suffered several injuries including a broken jaw was with two younger boys when the attack happened. They said the adults yelled anti-gay slurs at the girl before she was beaten.

"Her jaw is broken in several places and she has to have a plate put in her jaw," said family friend Brenda Hickerson. "She continued describing the 17-year old girl's injuries, "She has teeth knocked out of her mouth and she has scrapes and bruises."

They are injuries Hickerson said that came for no reason other than being gay.

Hickerson asked, "What did she do so wrong but, walk to the store and just be who she is? "

Andi Hornback got a call after 1:00 Tuesday morning.  Her two boys ages 13 and 15 had slipped out of the house to get some chips and a coke at a store around the corner with the girl who's a family friend.

Hornback said, "My son called me and said mom, can you come meet us because we feel uncomfortable," he told her, "there are four grown-ups following us a little too close."

The boys said, the men started yelling anti-gay slurs toward the teen girl before they could give their mom the exact location over the phone.  Hornback remembered, hearing her son suddenly scream, "I can't even describe it to you," she said holding back tears, "I'm getting ready to cry, hearing my child scream and know that they were hurt and they were scared and I couldn't get there fast enough."

By the time Hornback arrived, EMS and police were there.

One of her two sons suffered a concussion after being knocked down trying to help the girl.

"She was on the ground with blood just pouring out of her face," Hickerson said, "these grown men put her on the ground, kicked her in her stomach, kicked her in her face and punched her in the face and kept going until a bystander yelled stop and called 911."

Hickerson added, "I think she was targeted for being a strong lesbian young girl."

The violence happened in front of two churches. Jeff McCarty, the Pastor of St. James Church said hearing about the beating makes him sad, "How sorry I am that this happened anywhere but, especially in front of our church family," he told WAVE 3 News.

"This was a hate crime," Hickerson said, "There were hate slurs and this was not a robbery because they didn't take anything from them."

The boys say the woman in the group of adults didn't attack anyone.  They are hoping she or someone who knows what happened will go to police.

Hickerson wants to believe the woman's conscience will guide her, "Otherwise, you are saying that this is right to hate," she said, "and it's just not right!"

Louisville Metro Police confirm they are investigating the assault.

The men are described as a light skinned black male around 5'10'' in his early 20's or late teens. He was last seen wearing a red shirt and blue jeans.  Two white males in the same age range, one 5'10, with short hair, last seen with a light colored shirt and pants with an art design on them. The other white male is described as 5'8'', also with short hair wearing a light colored shirt and baggy shorts that went to his knees.

The female is described as light skinned around 5'6'' wearing shorts, a gray tank top and white Air Jordans shoes.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Police tip-line at (502) 574-LMPD.

Copyright 2012 WAVE News. All rights reserved.