June 19, 2019 at 11:27 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Gay couple attacked on U Street speaks out

From left: Karl Craven and his boyfriend, Braden Brecht, spent several hours in the emergency room after a group of men attacked them on U Street on June 16, 2019.

The gay couple who was attacked on U Street over the weekend says the incident has been “insane.”

“I was never expecting anything like that,” Karl Craven told the Washington Blade on Wednesday during a telephone interview with his boyfriend, Braden Brecht.

Marcus Britt, 19, of Fort Washington, Md., and two juvenile males have been charged with robbery by force and violence in connection with the attack that took place on U Street at 1:44 a.m. on Sunday. Britt and the two teenagers also face hate crimes charges.

Craven, 24, told the Blade the attack took place when he and his boyfriend were talking on U Street. The couple — who moved to D.C. from Virginia Beach on May 25 after Craven accepted an internship at a nonprofit organization — had just left Nellie’s.

“Someone yelled ‘faggot’ in our face,” said Craven. “Out of nowhere a mob of people are rushing him. The next thing (I know) I’m on the ground.”

Craven said his wallet was stolen during the attack. He also told the Blade that passersby did not stop to help until the assailants “ran off.”

The attack left Brecht, 21, with two broken teeth and stitches in his lip. He spent six hours at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

“I’m ok,” Brecht told the Blade.

“He says he’s ok, but his jaw hurts and his head hurts,” added Craven. “He’s just got scrapes up and down his body.”

Craven in a GoFundMe page that he created after the attack wrote Brecht has no insurance.

The page has raised more than $16,000 from 428 people.

Craven told the Blade that Dr. Christopher Banks of Capital Cosmetic Dentistry in Chevy Chase, Md., has offered to repair Brecht’s fractured teeth for free.

Craven said his boyfriend’s headaches “are pretty severe” and he plans to return to the doctor because he said the treatment he received in the emergency room was “not comprehensive.” Craven also told the Blade that he and Brecht remain in contact with Lt. Brett Parson, who oversees the Metropolitan Police Department’s LGBT Liaison Unit.

“Brett Parsons has been very helpful through this whole thing,” said Craven.

The attack against Craven and Brecht is part of a spate of violence in D.C. in recent weeks that has sparked concern among activists.

Three people were stabbed inside the Fireplace, a gay bar on P Street in Dupont Circle, on Sunday morning. The incident took place hours after a man with a gun demanded oral sex from transgender women near Casa Ruby on Georgia Avenue in Northwest D.C.

Zoe Spears, a trans woman who previously lived in Casa Ruby, was killed in Fairmount Heights in Prince George’s County on June 13. Earline Budd, a trans activist in D.C., and Maj. Brian Reilly of the Prince George’s County Police Department have both said Spears knew Ashanti Carmon, a trans woman who was murdered near Eastern Avenue on the Maryland-D.C. border on March 30.

Craven told the Blade that he and Brecht plan to donate the unused money from their GoFundMe campaign to Casa Ruby.

“There’s been so much violence towards transgender women specifically and a lot of it goes unnoticed,” said Craven. “It’s a good cause.”

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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