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Las Cruces police investigate attack on gay couple; victims considered seeking hate crime charge

UPDATE -- Lucas Rosales originally told ABC-7 he wanted to pursue hate crime charges, but later said he had changed his mind.

ORIGINAL REPORT: LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- It was Saturday night when Lucas Rosales and his boyfriend were holding hands walking out of the Pic Quik on Amador when two other men started the attack.

"As I approached my car, there were two dudes yelling out [expletive], you guys are weird, we don't appreciate that get out of here," Rosales said.

That's when Rosales said the men started to get violent. According to Rosales, the men tried to open the driver-side door. Rosales said he got scared and tried to drive away, but one of the men punched his driver-side window and the back windshield. The second punch shattered the window and left a big hole.

Rosales told ABC-7 that the incident traumatized him, but it didn't discourage him.

"You can be whoever you want to be, just be yourself and don't ever try to hide it," said Rosales.

Rosales said he wanted to pursue a hate crime charge, but later changed his mind.

Las Cruces Police Department spokesman Dan Trujillo there is no audio proof of what was said before the alleged attack and there is no specific hate crime charge under New Mexico law.

"The hate crime in new Mexico is actually an enhancement, but if they alleged that there was a hate crime, there would be an enhancement on a sentence," said Trujillo.

That enhancement would be additional years added to a sentence if convicted of the underlying crime, according to Trujillo.

Right now, the incident is being investigated as vandalism. Rosales would need to contact the FBI to pursue federal hate crime charges, said Trujillo.

If you have information on the attack, authorities ask that you call Las Cruces police.

Article Topic Follows: Crime

Shelby Montgomery

Las Cruces native Shelby Montgomery is an ABC-7 reporter who also co-anchors Good Morning El Paso weekends.

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