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SALT LAKE CITY -- A Salt Lake City man says he's lucky to be alive after being brutally beaten outside a nightclub in what he calls a hate crime.
Dane Hall had a hard time being interviewed by KSL not just because of the emotional scars from the attack, but because his jaw is wired shut.
The 20-year-old has six missing teeth, his jaw is broken in multiple places and a piece of broken bone was shoved into his brain.
He said the damage happened as he was outside Club Sound in Salt Lake City last Friday night. Hall is openly gay and said the club was having a gay-themed night.
He said a group of men approached him yelling "fag" and other gay-based slurs. They started hitting and kicking him until he fell to the ground. They then held his jaw to the curb and kicked his head in an attack known as "curb checking" with the goal of breaking open a person's jaw.
Hall's head is wrapped in bandages nearly a week later with his wired jaw keeping him on a liquid diet.
"I started crying yesterday because my brother's cereal smelled so good and I can't eat it," said Hall. "So after this comes off (the bandages and wires) hopefully I can get a new smile again and not be ugly, I guess."
Hall's friends are working on organizing some fund raisers because Hall's medical bills are piling up and he doesn't have any insurance.
Hall's mother is taking care of her son as he recovers. She doesn't want us to use her name but said she's been through a range of emotions from being devastated to hearing about the attack to feeling anger towards whoever did this.
"You just have to keep a positive, you know. I just want the people to be caught who did this and get punished for it and pay for the crime. You can't go around beating people up like that because of their sexual orientation."
Police said they have started an investigation into the attack, but they have not yet interviewed Hall. KSL has spoken to a second man who said he was also attacked outside the same club on Easter weekend. He said he believes he was attacked because he is gay.
Hall is hopeful that the club may install security cameras or that some other measures are taken to help prevent future attacks from happening.
However, former club owner Tom Taylor, who works as a security guard for the club, said there are four cameras around the building, but the assault happened outside of the view of cameras.
For anyone wishing to help Hall with his medical bills, a donation account* has been set up at Zions Bank under the name "Dane Hall."
*ksl.com has not verified the accuracy of the information provided with respect to the account nor does ksl.com assure that the monies deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.