Man charged with hate crime after fight at Lake of the Ozarks nightclub

Published: Aug. 6, 2018 at 6:23 PM CDT
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A man has been charged with hate crimes after deputies say he assaulted three men at a Lake of the Ozarks nightclub, all because he thought they were gay and didn't like how they were dressed.

It happened at Shady Gators just after midnight Saturday.

Camden County Sheriff Tony Helms says this is the first time a hate crime has ever been charged in Camden County because of expressed hatred toward the LGBTQ community.

"I think we've had a couple of other incidents come up and it was racial type stuff, but as far as a hate crime going into something like this, this is the first that I'm aware of," Helms said.

Security at Shady Gators told deputies Allen Loftis, 22, of Ellsinore, punched two men and assaulted a third during the dispute.

"When they brought him in, the suspect, for questioning, he admitted that he didn't care for gays, and he shouldn't act that way," Helms said.

The three friends were at the bar together that night. Shady Gator's Facebook advertises an 80's rock cover band was playing at the venue.

One of the men was was dressed in a see-through half shirt and leopard print pants, and was also wearing a wig.

Loftis allegedly used a homophobic slur, pulled the wig off of man, and punched another in the throat and mouth.

Once outside the bar, the third friend told deputies he tried to get in the middle to break up the fight, but was then punched in the face. It chipped his tooth and gave him a swollen lip.

Helms says the three men claimed they are not gay, but believes the hatred showed to the gay community warranted the hate crime charges.

"It's not legal to attack somebody for their beliefs or how they live their life. You just can't do that," Helms said. "If these guys chose to be having silly fun or if they are truly gay, that shouldn't be anybody else's business but their own."

KY3/KSPR did reach out to Shady Gators for comment, but they declined.

Loftis has been charged with three counts of felony assault motivated by discrimination and one count of disturbing the peace, a Class B misdemeanor.

He is out on a $75,000 surety bond.