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NEW INDEPENDENCE - Thirteen people, including high school seniors from Proctor High School, are accused of stomping a gay man to the ground on Sunday. Eyewitnesses say 21-year-old Max Pelofske was targeted for his sexuality and could not escape the attacks. It happened early in the morning at what friends call a "graduation" party for Proctor students.The violence started in New Independence where the St. Louis County Sheriff's Department reports kids were partying and drinking in what appeared to be a gravel pit.Kelly Johnson says she watched as a crowd turned against Pelofske, her best friend. "The other guy was like 'Are you gay'? And [Pelofske] said 'yeah, I am. Is that a problem?' And [the other guy] was like 'yeah, that is a problem',” Johnson said."They were not letting us leave. There were so many of them, I tried. I thought that they were going to kill him. I looked at him on the ground and he was just being stomped, literally stomped. Like, he has footprints on his back,” Johnson said."I'd rip someone off and two people would take his place,” Johnson said.Onlookers say it was night two of an informal graduation party. 13 people, with connections to Proctor High School, allegedly took part in the hate crime.Authorities have been given nine names, Johnson said. "I was crying. I thought he was going to die because I saw all these kids on him thinking they're going to kill him because they were so drunk,” Johnson said."The cops did catch one of them when we were there and had us identify him. He actually tried to change his clothes,” Johnson said. One of the people arrested, allegedly, is 19-year-old Randy Bauer who is a graduate from Proctor High School last year. [**correction: Bauer is not accused of changing his clothing to escape authorities but Johnson says the 19-year-old started the attack against Pelofske.]
Johnson says Bauer was arrested and is now held on charges of insubordination, fleeing the scene, and felony hate crime.Johnson, saying that she was also attack during the brawl, brought Pelofske to Essentia Health St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth.Later on Sunday, a cat scan showed good news for his health, says Johnson, but the attack has left him shaken."It's just the mental pain I think. I mean, it's happened to him so many times but not like this before. He's never been... I mean, I’ve never seen anything like this before. This is like something you see on TV,” Johnson said.The two jailed suspects will not be charged until Tuesday after the holiday weekend.It is unclear how authorities will follow–up with the other eleven suspects who witnesses say they identified on the scene.John Ingleking, the Proctor School District's Superintendent, released this statement about the allegations:"At this point the district has no official notice of this event from local law enforcement. We will ensure that the district will act responsibly in response to this incident but need to allow due process procedures of the legal system to take place after such allegations."High school seniors accused of the crime are about two weeks from their last day of school.