John "Jake" Raynard
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A man is in hospital for reconstructive surgery after being attacked with bricks early Saturday morning in what his family calls a hate crime.
John "Jake" Raynard suffered 15 fractures to his cheekbone, a broken eye socket, a broken jaw and a broken upper palate when six to eight men surrounded him near a North Cumberland Street business.
Raynard, 30, and two friends were smoking outside of a bar after last call when a man approached them for a cigarette. The three friends walked away from the man after he became aggressive. Raynard said as they walked toward the Water Street Bus Terminal a group of males followed them shouting derogatory comments about their sexual orientation.
"It was like they were waiting in the woodwork," said Raynard, who is gay, from his hospital bed. "The crowd just seemed to get bigger."
One of the men grabbed Raynard's friend and started choking him. Raynard said he struck the man that was assaulting his friend and then began yelling at the group to try and scare them away.
"I managed to fend off six to eight people by yelling long enough to get them (Raynard's two friends) into a cab," said Raynard.
Once his friends were in the cab, Raynard said the group surrounded the taxi, preventing him from getting in. He decided to run through a nearby alley towards a local restaurant instead, grabbing a brick for self-defense as the men chased him.
"I was screaming loud enough to wake up six blocks," said Raynard. "How did nobody hear me?"
He said the last thing he remembers is banging on the window of a nearby fast-food restaurant for help before waking up in the emergency room of Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre on Saturday afternoon.
"I could have bled to death, " said Raynard. "I'm lucky to be alive."
Raynard's sister, Jackii Raynard, said her brother called her from the hospital at 1 p.m. She said hospital officials told her they had no idea how he got there. She said she is speaking out because she wants the community to know what happened to her brother.
"What happened that night was a hate crime," said Jackii Raynard. "They broke the whole left side of his face. His face speaks for itself."
Thunder Bay Police Service spokesman Chris Adams confirmed that the police service is investigating the incident.
Police officers are in the process of identifying the people who will be interviewed for the investigation. Included in those interviews would be Raynard and three other victims who were allegedly assaulted.
All four people were taken to the hospital following the attack, however, the injuries of the three other possible victims are unknown at this time.
A facebook group has been created in an effort to support Raynard.
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