A Texas dentist is being praised by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates nationwide after providing free dental care to the victim of brutal 2012 attack which took place during Austin's Gay Pride weekend in 2012.
As KVUE is reporting, Andrew Oppelman had nine of his teeth knocked out when he stepped in to defend his friend Nick Soret, who was allegedly attacked by Lambert Borgardt outside of Roppolo’s Pizza in Austin's Warehouse District.
After Dr. Gary Gash heard about the attack, he wanted to help Oppelman, and for the past year and a half has provided free dental reconstruction, including implants. The Victim's Relief Fund also helped to cover much of the care, which would have set Oppelman back six figures.
“People have been so warm and welcoming to me here," Cash told the news station. "I figured that's not the way someone should be treated from out of town."
Oppelman is quoted by Buzzfeed as saying, "As of now I have had thousands of dollars in dental work done and a lot more to come. My spirit has been broken but because of the support I am on the mend.”
Borgardt turned himself in shortly after the 2012 altercation. Though he has argued the attack was purely out of self-defense, he has been indicted for aggravated assault and battery, a second-degree felony. According to the Dallas Voice, authorities are not investigating the case as a hate crime because audio of what was said during the attack isn't available.
In 2012, Oppelman recalled of the alleged attack, "He kept on pounding on my friend, pounding on my friend. He threw me off balance. I fell back to the construction area, got up again a little bit and turned to him. All of a sudden, his fist was in my mouth. Eight teeth were on the floor. I'm bleeding all over. He ran away. His friend was standing there laughing like it was some kind of joke."