DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. - A family is calling a recent attack on a 20-year-old a hate crime after police said the man was severely beaten.
“He was completely unconscious, and his whole right side of his face was messed up,” Echo Lentz said.
Lentz said it was extremely difficult for her to see her son, Austin Gunter, in such a condition.
The family gave Channel 2 Action News photos of Gunter in a hospital bed, bloodied and bruised.
"When you see your child laying there like that, what do you do?” Lentz asked.
Lentz said she’s not only furious that her son could have died after suffering a brain injury, but because she believes this was a hate crime, since one of the only things her son said he remembers before the beating is what one of the alleged attackers said.
"Supposedly, he had bumped into a girl at the door. He said he was sorry, they shook hands and the boyfriend said, “My girlfriend doesn’t shake any (N-word)'s hands,” Lentz said.
It all happened over the weekend after Gunter left a popular restaurant and bar in Carrollton.
Workers told Channel 2 Action News the victim, who appeared to be intoxicated, was spotted on camera leaving the restaurant around 12:16 a.m. Saturday.
"Where you look at where all the blood was at, where his body was found and where his boots were found – none of that adds up," Lentz said.
Channel 2's Nefertiti Jaquez obtained the police report that states the victim was found 24 minutes later, in a parking lot behind a neighboring bar, by a patron who called 911.
Family members said Gunter told them he remembered a group of men, one with red hair and another wearing a white cowboy hat, as being the men who allegedly attacked him.
"These seven or eight dudes who did this to my son are dogs, and I want them to pay for what they did to my baby," Lentz said.
Lentz said her son will have surgery Thursday to have metal plates inserted in his head. She said he may not regain full vision in his right eye.
Carrollton police said they are reviewing video from area businesses. So far, they have no witnesses or evidence that this was a hate crime but said they are not ruling anything out.
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