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From left, Lange and Blea. Photo: Facebook

Puerto Vallarta — A part-time resident from Palm Springs, Calif., may have suffered permanent damage after being shot on the beach early in the morning.

Local police and media say Carl Blea was targeted in a botched robbery, but the victim says the attack was a hate crime.

Blea and his husband, Marc Lange, had spent the evening dancing. Around 2:30 a.m., Blea and Lange were walking home and holding hands when a man opened fire, shooting Blea through his thigh.

The suspect remains at large.

Although the chief of police and a spokesperson from the mayor’s office visited Blea in the hospital, he expressed frustration that authorities insist the attack was a robbery attempt and nothing more.

“No matter what we say, they’re not going to pay attention to us,” Blea told the Desert Sun.

Blea said he will seek further medical attention in Palm Springs, but it is too early to know if there is permanent damage to his leg. He and Lange are hoping to return home today (Tuesday).

Blea is a 20-year military veteran and both he and his husband maintain a condo in Puerto Vallarta while working as Realtors in Palm Springs.

“In one moment, both of our lives could’ve been changed,” Blea said.

Despite enjoying Puerto Vallarta’s overall gay-friendly environment, Blea regrets not being more careful walking through the streets at 2:30 a.m. He said he will think twice before being physically affectionate towards his husband in another country.

“If anything, that’s the biggest lesson I learned,” Blea said. “You just never know who you may come across who may hate that.”

Source: Desert Sun

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