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Alleged hate crime victim: 'To know me is to love me'

LAS VEGAS - Metro Police have arrested five people in connection to an alleged hate crime that took place on Sunday at the Hard Rock Hotel-Casino.

The victim, 32-year-old Darnell Morgan, is a traveling nurse. He was in Las Vegas to watch his sister get married. Morgan and his friends were leaving a pool party when a group of men approached him.

According to the arrest report, a man pushed Morgan from behind causing him to fall to the ground. While he was falling to the ground, another man in the group hit Morgan in the face with a closed fist.

They reportedly called him several derogatory words and gay slurs.

"I come to Vegas, the number one tourist location in the world and get called a f*** and end up in the ER with stitches," Morgan said.

The report states that Morgan fell to the ground while trying to defend himself and multiple subjects began to hit and kick him in the face and body.

"I’ve been out of the closet since I was 14 and I’ve never really ran into an incident since then about my sexuality," he said.

Keron Cumberbatch, Eidryce Wildermarks, Rashon Wiggins, Damion Campbell, and Aaron Bobgoldman were the five men arrested for the crime.

"When you know or think that that's the motivating factor around someone having violence inflicted upon them, it's heartbreaking," said Andre Wade, Executive Director of the Center.

Wade has helped thousands of LGBTQ people in Las Vegas.

"When that word comes out, there's some sort of meaning behind that that's usually not good, It's said to have an impact," he said.

Initially, Morgan wanted to press changes. But, he’s since had a change of heart.

"To know Darnell is to love Darnell. I am always the life of the party," Morgan said.

When Morgan went to the court house yesterday, he said the men embraced him. It was a moment he'll never forget.

"We had a conversation for about 2-3 hours and the conversation centered around basically God, life, and family,” Morgan said. “We noticed that we both are essentially the same person and the only difference between us two is that I’m a homosexual and he's a heterosexual."

Morgan says he plans to drop the charges against the five men. 


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