LINCOLN (KPTM)- Lincoln Police are searching for three men they believe attacked a woman and then tried to set her house on fire.
They are investigating it as a possible hate crime.
Police said the men broke into the woman's home with their faces covered by masks early Sunday morning.
They say they tied her up, spray painted anti-gay slurs on her wall and carved anti-gay slurs into her skin.
A friend of the woman said she was able to crawl away from her house near 22nd and E to get help.
"To hear that that happened I've got to wake up in the morning and say I knew this lady and somebody was actually violated next door," said Raymond strozier, the woman's neighbor.
Strozier said he heard a commotion earlier in the night but fell asleep. He woke up to sirens and saw the woman running to a neighbor's house for help. He ran towards her as well to help, and noticed her bleeding pretty badly.
"This ought to be a message to all of Lincoln that we should watch out for each other," said Strozier.
Strozier was one of more than 500 people who showed up for a candlelight vigil at the capitol building Sunday night to show support against the hate crimes and discrimination. Organizers of the vigil say people as far away as Belgium also lit candles in support.
"It's been really fantastic to see people in Lincoln come together so quickly to just say that we need to be a community that stands up," said Tyler Richard, an LGBT community activist. He also knows the pain of discrimination.
"There have been different times in Lincoln when walking down the street I've had someone yell a homophobic slur at me that's been the extent of my experience," said Richard. But he says he won't let this recent crime make him live in fear.
People in Omaha have organized a vigil Thursday due to the nature of the crime. They said it appears to be motivated by hatred and bias. The vigil be held at Memorial Park at 8:30 Thursday nigh.
The crime comes just months after the city of Lincoln made strides in the LGBT community. The city passed an ordinance giving people workplace protections based on their sexual orientation.