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Echo Park Stabbing: Surveillance Video Released Shows Suspected Gay Hate Crime (VIDEO)

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Two men in their mid-20s were stabbed last Thursday in Echo Park in what may have been a gay hate crime; the incident was caught on camera.
Two men in their mid-20s were stabbed last Thursday in Echo Park in what may have been a gay hate crime; the incident was caught on camera.

A security camera was rolling when a man stabbed two men in their mid-20s last week in Echo Park. Police have released the video with a plea to the public to help identify the suspects.

The surveillance video shows two men and one woman walking past the victims, KTLA reports. A neighbor said she heard the three shouting homophobic slurs. Lt. Gutierrez said at least one suspect yelled, "You guys are f*cking f*ggots," reports Eastsider LA.

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Then, as seen in the video above, one of the men broke away from the group and ran toward the two victims. The suspect stabbed the first victim in the abdomen. But the victim's friend wasn't going to stand by idly. Moments later, he ran after the suspect. Captured on camera, the suspect responded by taking a fighting stance and then stabbing the second victim in the hip, fracturing his pelvis.

Police believe the stabbing may have been a gay hate crime. Blogger "Your Friend, Savannah" wrote about the two victims, who are also her friends, "Neither are gay, but are straight allies, are vocal for gay rights, and wear rainbow patches and buttons on occasion."

The victims were approached as they waited for a bus near Echo Park and Montana Avenues just after midnight Thursday morning. Earlier that night, they had been at Sunset Beer, an Echo Park beer store with a bar and lounge. The victims were treated and released in good condition from the hospital. The suspects are still at large.

Maria Hinojosa, whose apartment is above the crime scene, said she was woken up by the shouted homophobic slurs. "It's discrimination," she told KTLA. "I don't think it's right."

Police identified both the suspects and victims as Latino, according to the Eastsider. They ask anyone with any information to call Northeast Division detectives at (323) 344-5731.

UPDATE: Both LAPD Detective Altamirano and the owners of Sunset Beer told HuffPost that they believe that the victims visited the bar that night but that the suspects did not. The story has been edited to indicate this.

"The victims were at our bar earlier in the night and are good customers," John Nugent, co-owner of Sunset Beer, told HuffPost. "We are relieved to know they are doing well."

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