It is a black and blue mark on an otherwise colorful celebration.
"It was kind of like a bee-sting."
That's what 34-year-old Eric felt as he and his friends were walking to the St. Pete Pride Parade on Saturday.
It wasn't a bug-bite though, rather a high powered BB gun shot fired at his group of friends simply because of who they were.
Eric spoke with us asking that we not use his last name.
"I was just like wow. I wasn't expecting that," he said.
Police arrested the suspected shooter, 20-year-old Cornelius Davis. Authorities say he was yelling homophobic slurs before shooting the BB gun from the second floor of the Kenwood Village Inn on 33rd street North.
He's charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and police are calling his actions a hate-crime. Eric, a former reserve police officer, reserved his judgment.
"I don't want to be accused of judging him when he judged me," he said.
"A lot of people look at this like, ‘oh my God, oh my God,' I look at it like it happened send him to jail where he belongs," he said.
Of course, it could've been much worse, including for Davis himself.
"Don't carry a water gun to a firefight because I was carrying my Glock," he said.
Despite it all, Eric didn't let the ugly incident stop him from attending Pride. This was the biggest in the event's 11 year history with some 120,000 plus in attendance.
"We're not going to let these people get in the way of who we are and what we're doing, and that's what this is all about," said Pride executive director Eric Skains.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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