An elderly gay man was attacked in Sarasota, Florida after a Trump supporter followed him to his home and assaulted him, while claiming that the president elect supports murdering LGBT people.
After dropping off a friend on Monday, 75-year-old Chuck Redding noticed a tailgater in a dark-colored SUV following much too closely. He told Tampa’s WFTS, a local TV station, that the man targeted him because of a rainbow flag and Human Rights Campaign bumper sticker on the back of his car.
“This guy was extremely close to me,” Redding said. “At first, I didn't think anything of it other than it was a jerk that was following too close.”
When the man tracked him all the way the street on which he lives, Redding knew this wasn’t an ordinary situation. He parked his Mazda sedan at a neighbor’s house so that his stalker wouldn’t know his exact address.
“I knew… something was wrong,” Redding said.
After Redding’s car stopped moving, the assailant immediately sprang from his Jeep and began to pound on the driver’s side window, screaming at him. Redding, who had an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator inserted in his chest two decades ago, was terrified.
What made matters worse is that he forgot to lock his door.
“He yanked the door open, dragged me out, ripped my shirt,” Redding recalled. “I was on the pavement.”
According to the victim, this was not a random act of violence. During the attack, in which his arm was bruised and his hand sliced open, the assailant expressed support for our current president-elect, Donald Trump.
“You know my new president says we can kill all you faggots now,” Redding remembered him yelling.
Redding’s neighbor, after witnessing the altercation taking place from inside his home, came out and started screaming at the attacker, chasing him away. The assailant, described as a Latino man with a beard in his 20s or 30s, got in his car and sped off. They were unable to get a license plate number off the vehicle.
Redding was rushed to the hospital, where doctors discovered additional wounds, including a torn toe and a badly scraped knee.
The victim said that his swollen hand, which has increased to twice its usual size, will make it difficult for him to return to work. Although Redding used to own a flower shop, he wraps Christmas presents during the holidays to earn a little extra income.
Redding is just one of a number of LGBT people that has reported being assaulted following the election, as a wave of hate crimes have swept the United States.
On election night, Chris Ball, a film producer from Calgary, claimed he was beaten by a group of men who smashed a beer bottle over his head. In Ogden, Utah, a gay couple, Nik and Aaron McFarland, received a death threat spray painted on their car earlier this week, as KSTU in Salt Lake City reports. The community helped fundraise to have the graffiti removed.
There have been at least 400 such incidents reported since the election.
Redding, who called the rise in antigay hate “horrendous,” plans to apply for a concealed carry permit to help protect himself. But in the meantime, he told Gay Star News that he won’t take down his pro-LGBT bumper stickers.
“In fact, I’m going to look for a larger sticker,” he said.