A Kansas out pastor claims he was stabbed because of his sexuality by a homophobic man.
The pastor, Michael Garcia, was walking his dog around 9 p.m. on Wednesday when a thin, scruffy, white man, around 30-years-old, standing at about 5-foot-10, approached him and asked for a cigarette.
"[He] moved toward me and shoved a blade in my stomach and referred to me as a 'stupid faggot pastor,'" Garcia told Wichita TV station, KAKE. The stab wound went through Garcia's muscle leaving him with a visible scar on his stomach and as Garcia lay on the ground, the man ran off.
The pastor has since recovered from the stab wound to the stomach but vividly recalls the trauma of being attacked at a trail behind his Wichita apartment by an allegedly homophobic man wielding a blade, reports KAKE.
Garcia told the station that the attack causes "Concern for not only the gay community but for Christians as well." He worried that other gay people or Christians who are accepting might be targeted. "Whether they be gay or just accepting of everyone, I feel like we are a target just by loving other people no matter what. It's a frightening place to be," he told the TV station.
If the attack was motivated by Garcia's sexual orientation, it could be classified as a hate crime under federal law, which allows for increased penalties for biased crimes. However, in 2015, Kansas' U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom expressed concern that hate crimes in the state were being underreported. Both Kansas City and Topeka recorded no hate crimes from 2012 to 2013, while Wichita reported 14 and Lawrence 10.
Wichita police are still investigating the attack, according to the station.
Watch Michael Garcia describe the attack below.