A gay man was brutally attacked early Saturday morning in Colorado by a man reportedly interested in the victim's female friend.
On a GoFundMe campaign page, Shawny Marie recounted how her friend, Steven Anthony Loranger, was beaten almost to death over the weekend by a man she claims is an ex-Marine "for no other reason than being a gay man and best friends with a young woman the suspect has an affinity for."
The attack left Loranger, 33, with a severely broken nose, a broken orbital socket and sprained abdominal wall, as well as various bruises, cuts and knots. (Scrapes on Lorangers' midsection suggest he was dragged at one point.)
"Steven does not have even one defensive wound," writes Marie, "meaning he was unconscious and completely helpless."
She believes her friend regained consciousness while his attacker went to retrieve a weapon, and escaped out the back door. He then hid until he was able to get to the hospital.
"Steven needs surgery and is missing work," Marie explains in the appeal. "His medical expenses have already overwhelmed him and he is very concerned about paying his medical bills and regular bills during his extended recovery."
She points out the attack occurred in Fort Collins, Colorado, only a 40-minute drive from the remote part of Laramie, Wyoming, where Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson murdered Matthew Shepard in 1998.
In the wake of Shepard's death, Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded federal hate-crime statutes to include those motivated by a victim's real or perceived orientation or gender identity.
Loranger's attacker, who has reportedly been arrested, could very well be charged under the act.
You can contribute to Steven Loranger's GoFundMe campaign here.