Paris, Texas -
Burke Burnett came out in his small Texas hometown of Paris 11 years ago, when he was just 15. But he never experienced anything like the hatred he saw on Sunday morning -- when he was beaten and thrown into a fire at a party.
"They knew I was gay," Burnett said Monday. "I'm convinced they were trying to kill me."
Burnett told the Dallas Voice that he had arrived at the host's home with three other gay friends. They left -- and then around 1 a.m., the attackers snuck up on him with a broken beer bottle. They stabbed him in the back and the forearm, then threw him into a "burn barrel."
The entire time, he said, they yelled gay slurs at him.
Burnett suffered burns on his arms, needed several stitches, and has a severely bruised eye. (You can see photos of his injuries on the Dallas Voice website.)
Other partygoers came to Burnett's rescue and a woman drove him to the hospital.
The local police department refused to comment, aside from releasing this statement: "The Reno Police Department is currently investigating an aggravated assault that took place last weekend. The investigation is ongoing and additional information will be provided when available."