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Man Viciously Beaten After A Co-Worker Found Out He Was Gay

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Police have two Victorville men in custody and are looking for a third in a vicious hate crime attack that allegedly occurred when the attackers learned that the victim was gay. The 34-year-old victim had previously been friends with one of his alleged attackers—23-year-old Ethan Walker—who he met while they were both working at the same mall, CBS reports. Authorities say that friendship changed dramatically when Walker found out the victim was gay, and recruited two others to participate in a brutal assault.

On October 27, the victim asked Walker to get a cup of coffee, a release from the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department says. During this meeting, Walker asked the victim if he was gay and got angry with him when he found out he was. Later, Walker called the victim and apologized, then asked if he was planning to walk to work the next day. When the victim said yes, Walker made plans to meet him at a secluded draining wash behind the mall near Mall Blvd. and Petaluma Road under the guise of walking with him.

On October 28, the victim arrived to the meeting point at about 8:23 p.m., only to find that Walker was waiting with 22-year-old Robert Fraire and a 17-year-old boy whose name is not being released. The trio beat the victim with rocks, bottles and a 2 x 4, and also stole his cell phone and wallet. Police say that the victim sustained several injuries.

In an interview with CBS, the victim was asked if he believed his attackers intended to kill him. He responded, "There were moments that it seemed like it," and that the only reason he thinks the beatings stopped was because he just laid still, pretending to be dead.

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On Tuesday afternoon, police arrested Fraire, who is being held at the Adelanto Detention Center in lieu of a $1 million bail, The Press Enterprise reports. The 17-year-old suspect has also been arrested. Police are still looking for Walker, but have a warrant out for his arrest.

"I hope that [Walker] realizes that this kind of hate's not tolerated anymore," the victim told CBS.

Anyone with information as to where Walker might be should call Det. Dana Weinberg at 760-241-2911.