A homeless man in Murfreesboro said he's the victim of a hate crime after other homeless men shouted anti-homosexual slurs at him before beating him unconscious.
It's bad enough Glen Ortmann has been homeless for two months, living at a homeless camp in the woods near the CSX Railroad tracks off Church Street in Murfreesboro, referred to as Tent City. Now he's facing an even bigger challenge.
"It makes it 10 times harder when you're gay and homeless at the same time," Ortmann said.
Ortmann said over the weekend he walked right into a trap after recently revealing he's gay.
"It was a big crowd, and all I remembered really is being hit once or twice and being knocked out cold," Ortmann said.
His right eye was swollen shut. He also suffered a busted lip and a badly bruised nose. His entire body was filled with pain.
"I was sore," he said. "My head was mainly sore from the beating I took."
The homeless man said he has no doubt in his mind he was targeted by the other homeless people at the camp because of his alternative lifestyle.
"I was beat up because I was gay," Ortmann said. "It's considered a hate crime. It's against the law to put your hands on someone to begin with."
The victim was able to give police a couple of names as possible suspects, so detectives are trying to track them down.
"The reporting officer indicated the bias motivation for the attack was anti-homosexual," said Sgt. Kyle Evans, Murfreesboro police spokesman. "If that is indeed the case, not only could they be facing these assault charges; they could be facing more serious charges."
Ortmann said since there are limited shelters for men in Murfreesboro, he has no choice but to remain at Tent City.
"It's bad enough where I have to keep watch, keep an eye over my shoulder the entire time," Ortmann said. "It's pretty bad right now to the point that I don't sleep that many hours now."
Ortmann said he is now considering moving to Nashville since he fears for his life.