BALTIMORE - It was Christmas night and Kenneth Shaw says he just ran to the corner store for a few things.
On his way back, at the corner of Rose and East Hoffman, he was cold-cocked and savagely beaten by a group of five men for 10 to 12 minutes.
"As my face swelled, I could feel it and it was like the guy kept on hitting me in the same spot and all I can hear is the crunching of my tissue."
Shaw says the men kept hitting him in the face and only his face, beaten so badly, his own mother didn't know it was him when he walked into the emergency room.
"My son walked into the emergency room and I didn't even recognize my own child. I couldn't believe it. I could not believe somebody beat my son for no reason," said Mother Sheila Shaw.
No reason other than the fact that Kenneth is a gay man.
Mother and son believe he was beaten Christmas night because of his sexuality.
They say some in the neighborhood have called him names before and point out how he wasn't robbed and almost strictly beaten in his face; an intolerance Kenneth says nearly cost his life.
"I think it was a hate crime because of my lifestyle and I didn't do anything, I didn't do anything. I don't even know these guys names."
So now Kenneth wants to move, or at the very least change when he leaves his house, but not before he and his family take a stand.
They are convinced Kenneth was assaulted for being gay and will not cower until they see justice served.
"I think you get to a point in life where you can't be afraid anymore. This is our stand. This is my son and I know I will lay down my life for my son."
Catching the suspects in this case may be a challenge, Kenneth never did get a good look but his mother says she has confidence in city police to solve the case.
For its part, BPD says the assault is still under investigation and detectives have yet to classify it as a hate crime.