June 13, 2016 9:59 pm
Updated: June 13, 2016 10:36 pm

Man walking to Vancouver vigil for Orlando victims says he was attacked for being gay

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Vancouver police are investigating after a man on his way to a vigil for the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting was attacked while carrying a rainbow flag.

Dallas Groot says he was targeted because he is gay.

“He came from behind me. It felt, at the time, it was a punch in the back,” he said.

Groot said he was knocked to the ground and he had to go to the hospital.

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“The pain just shot right through,” he said.

The attack happened as Groot was on his way to a candlelight vigil in downtown Vancouver for the victims of the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida.

Hundreds of people, including many members of the LGBTQ community, gathered outside the Vancouver Art Gallery Sunday night to remember the victims of the senseless massacre that took 50 lives.

Vancouver Police say they are investigating the attack.

They Vancouver Pride Society says it plans to meet with police and private security companies this week to make next month’s Pride Parade as safe as possible.

“There’s violence directed toward the community regularly and it doesn’t get covered,” Alan Jernigan of the Vancouver Pride Society said. “If this is an opportunity to highlight that fact, then I think we have to do that.”

Groot said he is speaking out to show that such an attack won’t silence him or the LGBTQ community.

“This one attack is not going to stop me from being myself, being who I am,” he said.

He hopes the suspect comes forward.

“I just hope that he comes clean. I do forgive him for this. I show no hatred toward him.”

– With files from Tanya Beja and Amy Judd

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