A gay man visiting the Memphis Zoo in Tennessee was attacked on Tuesday after a random stranger walked up and asked him about his sexuality, according to a local news report.
23 year old Reginald Buckner told WMC Action News 5 that he was just sitting near a dining area at the zoo when two women came up to him and asked to borrow his cellphone.
He said no, and that’s when things quickly got out of hand.
The women asked him and his friends if they were gay, a question to which at least Buckner replied with a “yeah.” According to Buckner, the women then began to verbally berate Buckner and his friends, saying, “You know you’re going to hell right?”
Buckner described his response to that ridiculousness as having simply said “Wow.”
That’s not where the situation ended, however.
Bucker told the aforementioned local news affiliate that the two women, who were joined by a couple of men at one point, “just started out of nowhere physically assaulting.”
The situation then got even more volatile, with one of the attackers pulling a gun. At that point, someone shouted that the gun was present, and “zoo visitors started scrambling.”
Memphis police responded to the incident, but the attackers were already gone by the time that they showed up.
A spokesperson for the Memphis Zoo — which, apparently, does not check bags for weapons when admitting people — offered the following statement:
‘This was an isolated incident. The safety of all of our guests is of utmost importance and one of our top priorities. This matter is currently being handled by the Memphis Police Department.’
As for Buckner’s condition following the attack, he went to the Emergency Room following the incident, which left his back bruised and his face swollen with a black eye.