CARLSBAD — Police are investigating a March 20 incident that occurred between four people along Carlsbad Village Drive as a possible hate crime.
According to a GoFundMe page, Shane Devereaux started out that evening having drinks while on a date with his girlfriend at the Coyote Bar & Grill in Carlsbad. By the end of the night, Devereaux would be hospitalized with a broken back and fractured skull after being beaten by a group of men.
According to the webpage, three men approached Devereaux and his girlfriend wanting to have drinks with them. At some point after the group had conversed for a while, the men learned Shane is a transgender man.
Eventually, Devereaux and his girlfriend left the bar and headed to their car when the three men allegedly came back and assaulted Devereaux, according to the webpage.
Carlsbad police received a call at 11:56 p.m. on March 20 about a fight in the 300 block of Carlsbad Village Drive. At the scene, officers received reports that two males and the victim, Devereaux, were engaged in an argument that involved name-calling while leaving the bar.
One of the males then allegedly walked up and pushed Devereaux, causing him to fall back and hit his head on the ground.
Lt. Kevin Lehan, Carlsbad police’s special investigations commander, told The Coast News that medics were called to the scene to provide medical aid. Lehan noted that transportation to a local hospital was declined and the subjects decided to walk home.
Police then opened a battery investigation and witnesses were identified and interviewed. Alcohol also appeared to play a role in the incident, Lehan said.
Two days later, Devereaux’s girlfriend called the department and provided additional statements that led detectives to investigate the incident as a possible hate crime.
“We have received conflicting statements about what occurred and we are working hard to sort the information and find the facts,” Lehan said via email. “We take allegations like these very seriously in Carlsbad.”
Once the investigation is completed, it will be submitted to the District Attorney’s Office to be evaluated for charges.
According to the GoFundMe page, Devereaux was in the hospital suffering from a fractured skull and broken back.
“Shane can’t talk, can’t move, and can’t use the restroom alone,” wrote Rebeca Rolon, who created the page to raise funds for Devereaux’s hospital bills.
On March 25, Devereaux’s friends contacted the North County LGBTQ Resource Center about what happened. By that point, Devereaux had reached stable conditions and was recovering in the hospital, according to a statement from the Center.
“We are assisting the victim and talking to Carlsbad police,” said Max Disposti, director of the LGBTQ Resource Center.
The nonprofit organization is calling upon Carlsbad police to investigate the incident “to the fullest extent of the law” and also asking the public for support.
According to the LGBTQ Resource Center, attacks on the trans community increased last year, coinciding with a number of anti-trans bills in state legislatures.
Last November, Geremias Martin, an openly gay man, was stabbed three times in his back in Oceanside and left with months of recovery time. The organization also reported that another man in Oceanside was assaulted on March 22 for being perceived as gay.