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Police in Pasadena, Calif., are investigating an attack that authorities say was a hate crime against three men who were leaving a drag show last week.
One of the victims of the attack, Diamond Gonzalez, told local news station KABC on Tuesday that he and his friends had been leaving the ix Tapa Cantina bar when several men assaulted them in the bar's parking lot.
"A group of guys came up and attacked us," Gonzalez, who produces the shows, said, adding the attack went on for five to 10 minutes. "My back was faced towards them, and they hit me from the back and just knocked me out cold."
Gonzalez told station KTLA it happened about 2 a.m. last Friday. He said eight to 10 men attacked them and they were wearing masks.
"I thought we were being murdered, to be honest with you," he said. He added that one of the attacks pulled out a gun, but no one shot.
Gonzalez and his friends suffered multiple cuts and bruises from the attack.
"Everyone looked like bowling pins, getting knocked out," Noah Offield, one of the victims, told KABC.
Another victim, Ray Carabantes, got out his cell phone and said he was going to take a picture of the attackers' license plate.
"He turned around with a weapon and said, 'Do you want to take a picture of my license plate now?'" Carabantes said. "So immediately, I thought to myself, I'm just going to run away."
The men say they were attacked because they were leaving the drag show.
Pasadena police told local media that officers are investigating the incident as a hate crime.
In a statement to KABC, the Pasadena Police Department said it "recognizes the importance of protecting the safety and dignity of all of our community members and we stand in solidarity with those affected by the heinous attacks perpetrated last week."
Authorities said they had already received tips about the attack.
Gonzalez said there needs to be justice.
"It's not OK. It's 2022," he said. "People need to move on and get over it. Gay people exist and it's normal. And I don't want people to feel scared."