Terrance Mannery was getting ready to close up at the Salt Lake City dessert shop where he works when four scared-looking men ran in.
The men were going home from the Utah Pride Festival on Saturday night when a group of at least seven white men started chasing them and shouting anti-gay slurs, according to Salt Lake City police.
"I noticed some men come in and they seemed distraught and afraid so I asked them what was going on," 21-year-old Mannery said. "They said they were being harassed and followed."
When the group following the men attempted to come inside, Mannery confronted them, thinking they might damage the store or hurt the customers inside.
Mannery tried to close and lock the shop's doors, but somebody punched him and a fight broke out. He was pushed outside in the commotion and several other men joined the mob.
They pushed him into the shop's door hard enough to break the hinge.
Hit at least seven times
Irie Cao, the owner of the Doki Doki dessert shop, said customers and staff inside felt scared and helpless. The people who had sought shelter there called the police.
"It was really dark, but we could see he was being overpowered," Cao said. "He was getting hurt."
Cao said people inside tried to help Mannery, but a stack of chairs between the doors fell over, blocking the entrance.
Mannery said he was hit at least seven times before bystanders were able to break up the fight.
He suffered minor cuts to his eye and lip.
"I'm just really happy and proud that he stepped out and helped," Cao said.
Detective Robert Ungricht from the Salt Lake City Police Department said they are looking for the suspects and have asked the public for help.
There was no video of the incident.
The Utah Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce has offered a $5,000 reward for "information leading to the prosecution and arrest of the perpetrators," said the UGLCC's chairwoman, Tracey Dean.
"We have a local hero in Terrance Mannery," she said.
The UGLCC also has an anti-violence fund to help the victims of homophobic or trans-phobic crimes and "to provide resources for the prosecution of perpetrators of such crime," according to a news release.
"I was just doing the right thing," Mannery said. "At the end of the day, I'm just glad everyone's safe."