MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee County’s first openly LGBTQ+ county supervisor says an assailant attacked him with a gay slur and then punched him in the face this week at a suburban mall.

Supervisor Peter Burgelis was struck in the face while inside a store at the Mayfair Mall on Monday, news outlets reported, citing Wauwatosa police.

The attack occurred after a dispute in the parking lot, police said Friday. Officers said the suspect left before they arrived on scene, but they identified a person of interest.

Burgelis told WTMJ-TV that he went to a hospital after the attack and will undergo surgery on his jaw.

“I will never be silenced, nor will I allow this act of violence to detract from our ongoing efforts to ensure acceptance and equality for the LGBTQ+ community,” Burgelis said in a written statement. “If anything, this assault serves as a stark reminder of the widespread challenges we continue to face.”

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