In an incident the Macomb County Sheriff's department is investigating as a potential anti-LGBTQ+ hate crime, Mike Hall of Harrison Township was severely beaten on Tuesday, June 15, as he and his fiancé, Anthony Hamilton, were riding scooters on the way home from Hall's work.
Hamilton said he'd had a "funny feeling" earlier that day. He decided to ride home with Hall on their commuter scooters when Hall left from his shift at Kroger at 16 Mile Road and Crocker. Around 10 p.m., Hamilton told Hall he wanted to ride along the sidewalk to be safe rather than cut across the parking lot in the dark. As they paused at the entrance to the Mariner's Pointe shopping center, where cars can enter either Kroger or McDonald's, Hamilton said a white sedan "reluctantly" stopped to let them cross.
"He let us pass to the other side of the road, but there was a moment where he paused after we passed and he started calling 'fags,' 'faggots,' you know… any name out of that book," Hamilton said.
Though some reports have speculated the incident may have been more of a road rage incident, Hamilton suspects this was something more. He said the driver may be familiar with the area and had seen them before.
Having crossed the driveway, Hamilton and Hall continued on the sidewalk. The assailant followed along with them, shouting slurs.
"There was a point where Mike parked his scooter, stopped and looked at [the driver] and said, 'Please, leave us alone, leave us alone, man,'" Hamilton said. "'You know, 'Why are you doing this? You know, shut up, just drive on.'"
Hamilton stopped his scooter behind Hall. The driver of the white sedan parked his car. It was at this point that the passenger issued a warning.
"The passenger was screaming saying, 'That guy's dangerous, watch yourself, don't do this, run, get out of here,'" Hamilton said.
Heeding his warning, Hamilton and Hall attempted to flee, but because scooters are slow to accelerate, the assailant was able to grab Hall and punch him in the face. Hamilton said Hall fell straight forward and slammed into the blacktop.
"At this point, Mike is unconscious," Hamilton said. "The guy literally stands over him threatening to kill him: 'I'm going to kill you, you fucking asshole.'"
Afraid for both of them, Hamilton began shouting for the assailant to leave them alone, but that only seemed to enrage him more as he began to assault Hamilton. Again, the passenger in the sedan warned him that the driver was "unstable."
Hamilton said he was screaming for someone to dial 911, but he didn't see any activity in the dark parking lot. Eventually, two individuals stopped their cars and called for help. Soon the police and ambulance arrived.
The assailant commanded the passenger to get into the driver's seat so they could leave quickly.
"'Fuck this shit, you know, like I didn't sign up for this,'" Hamilton said the passenger, now in the driver's seat, told the assailant.
The two fled the scene and Hamilton was able to remember the first three letters of the car's license plate. He believes one of the witnesses who stopped, whom he described as a teenager in a truck, was able to provide the police with a more complete description of the car.
Only then did Hamilton begin to see the extent of Hall's injuries.
"I'm rushing back to Mike, because he's sitting up and he's throwing up all over the place," Hamilton said. "His whole side of his face is swollen and he's bleeding out of his ear. He's bleeding out of his nose. He doesn't know why he's there. He was dazed and confused. Five police officers were there. Firetruck, ambulance. I mean it was a complete nightmare."
The police attempted to get footage from area cameras, but the ones at McDonald's weren't working. And the cameras at the stoplight at 16 Mile Road weren't clear enough to make out a license plate, Hamilton said.
Hamilton was able to provide a description of the assailant. He said the attacker was in his mid-thirties and wearing a white ball cap, a blue v-neck shirt, white shorts and sandals. He was white and approximately 5 feet 11 inches.
Once at McLaren Macomb Hospital, Hamilton and Hall's mother discovered the hospital is currently restricting visitors to one per patient due to COVID precautions. They made the difficult decision for that individual to be Hall's mother. The hospital subsequently lifted the one visitor policy due to the seriousness of Hall's injuries. Hamilton was told to return to the hospital immediately.
In the trauma room with Hall, Hamilton didn't know if Hall knew who he was because he seemed "dazed and confused," and his speech was slurred.
The doctors described the extent of Hall's condition. He had a brain bleed "the size of an orange," a nose fracture, a skull fracture above his eye socket and a fracture below his eye socket. He was having seizures.
Hall was then transferred to the ICU where he stayed for two days. After an additional day in the step-down unit, he was able to go home.
"He still struggles obviously, with his memory," Hamilton said. "He can't be outside — you can't be around any bright lights. He still throws up pretty much all the time. I haven't gotten any rest, really.
"He asks the same questions," he continued. "We have to go over the same thing over and over each day. You know, I end up crying. I end up falling on the floor in tears. You know, I fully lost faith in humanity after the situation."
As of this afternoon, the two were headed back to the hospital.
This is a developing story.
Two days after the assault, Hamilton and Hall had planned to attend Hall's family reunion in North Carolina. Hamilton said it could be the last because of the advanced age of some of Hall's relatives. A friend set up a Gofundme page for Hall's medical expenses plus enough funds for the couple to join Hall's family when and where they are able.