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After Being Shot in Mexico, Palm Springs Couple Want the Truth Known

Husbands Carl Blea (left) and Mark Lange

Carl Blea was shot while holding hands with his husband, Mark Lange, in Puerto Vallarta. The men say Mexican media are not portraying the attack for what it was: a hate crime.

Carl Blea and Mark Lange were holding hands as they walked to their Puerto Vallarta condo after leaving a nightclub in the early hours of Sunday morning. A man began yelling at them and when they turned around, he fired a gun, which pierced Blea's thigh.

Blea and Lange -- who live most of the year in Palm Springs, Calif., and work as prominent real estate agents -- are set to return to the United States, where Blea will seek further treatment; he is currently unable to walk and may have permanent damage. The men say that local Mexican media is pushing a false narrative, one where they were attacked in a botched robbery, instead of a hate crime. Blea told the Desert Sun, a Palm Springs newspaper, that they never had any direct contact with the shooter, who got away. The assailant never demanded money but was motivated by hate, according to the couple.

"We never uttered a word to (the gunman)," Lange told the Sun.

Blea also said he will think differently about showing affection for his husband in a foreign country: "You just never know who you may come across who may hate that."

Puerto Vallarta authorities, including the chief of police, visited Blea and Lange at the hospital. The couple claim officials did not want to accept the reality that the men were targeted for being gay. Puerto Vallarta is a popular destination for LGBT travelers, with hotels, bars, nightclubs, and beaches catering to them.

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