Two marines beat a 26-year-old gay man so severely early this morning that he was left unconscious in the streets of Savannah. The victim, Kieran Daly, is still hospitalized.

The Savannah Morning News reports on the incident:

“The officer caught up with the two men who were running away, identified as Keil Joseph Cronauer (photo in blue tee shirt), 22, and Christopher Charles Stanzel (photo in white tee shirt), 23. Police records show both men are stationed at Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, S.C. Cronauer and Stanzel told police they were being harassed by a gay man and wanted to get away from him. But witnesses painted a different picture, according to the report.”

“They told police one of the men grew angry because he thought Daly was winking at him and struck Daly in the back of the head with his fist, knocking him unconscious. Saturday night, from his bed at Memorial University Medical Center, Daly insisted he tried to convince the Marines he was not winking at them. ‘The guy thought I was winking at him,’ Daly said. ‘I told him, ‘I was squinting, man. … I’m tired.'”

“Daly said one of the men told him he demanded respect because he served in Iraq. And at least one hurled slurs at him as he tried to walk away. ‘That’s the last thing I remember is walking away,’ Daly said.”

Daly, who only came out six months ago, suffered serious injuries which included bruising to the brain. he also experienced two seizures after the attack. Cronauer and Stanzel were arrested and charged for the possible hate crime.

The paper also reports that the attack is being investigated by the police the Savannah police department’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender official.