WASHINGTON, D.C. (WSMV) - A Nashville man living in Washington, D.C. for the summer is recovering from a violent encounter. He claims he was targeted for being gay.

“Once you get that third ring, you know something’s not right," Braden Brecht's sister said. 

It was a frightening call from Braden Brecht's boyfriend more than 600 miles away. Carl Craven told Brecht's sister, Leah Clinard, her brother was in the hospital.

“It’s just a sad situation. People can’t be themselves. You know they were just hanging out having a good time and he got attacked for living his life, what he believes in," Clinard said.

The Nashville native moved to the nation's capitol because his boyfriend got an internship there.

The couple was heading to a bar over the weekend when they stopped to have a conversation. They said a group of guys started shouting homophobic slurs at them and then took turns beating up Brecht.

“Instinctively, I just jumped on top of him and tried to shield him and was screaming ‘help, help, help,'" Carl Craven, the victim's boyfriend said.

They also said the group robbed them. Not too long after the attack, Brecht spoke about his injuries.

"It hurts at the beginning right here," Brecht said.

His sister said he's dealing with serious migraines and is going to an eye surgeon soon. He's talking more, but still has plenty of bruises.

Brecht's sister called what happened a hate crime and said it has to stop.

“It’s 2019 and we’re still treating people like they’re dirt," Clinard said.

Police said they're looking into whether hate played a role in the attack.

They've made three arrests in this case. It includes three teenagers. Some as young as 15.

Brecht's medical bills are in the thousands. His boyfriend set up a Gofundme page for him since he doesn't have insurance.

They've already raised more than their goal of $10,000.

You can also help by donating here

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Cameron Taylor is a national Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist who joined the News 4 team in December 2018.

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