The friends and family of a man who was stabbed in a vicious attack in New Glasgow, N.S., leaving him paralyzed, say they believe he was targeted because he's gay.

New Glasgow police said a 27-year-old man was airlifted to Halifax hospital with critical injuries Saturday morning after police discovered the victim lying on a downtown street after he was stabbed. 

Police were on a routine patrol shortly before 2:30 a.m. local time when they saw a man on the ground near the intersection of Archimedes Street and Forbes Street. After closer inspection they saw that the man was stabbed.

Scott jones

Scott Jones, 27, was stabbed twice in the back leaving him paralyzed after a vicious attack early Saturday morning in New Glasgow, N.S. (Courtesy of Amy Punke)

Amy Punke said she and a group of friends, including her 27-year-old roommate Scott Jones, were out celebrating the opening of a friend's art studio.

She said the group decided to leave one bar and go to another. She went ahead and did not witness the attack.

"He was walking with a friend and two men, who had previously been at the bar we were at, came running across the street. One of the men distracted Scott’s friend and the other man stabbed Scott twice in the back and tried to slit his throat," she said.

Severed spinal cord

The injury to Jones' throat was superficial, said Punke, but the stabbing severed Jones' spinal cord leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.

According to Punke — who has been speaking to Jones and has been by his side in hospital — when one of the attackers grabbed the victim, he whispered something in his ear before stabbing him. Jones told Punke he doesn't remember what the man said.

She said she doesn’t know why anyone would want to hurt Jones.

'He's a musician and he’s very open about his sexuality in that he encourages conversation.'- Amy Punke, friend of Scott Jones

"Myself, and his family and the people that know him, we feel that he may have been targeted because of the fact that he’s gay — and he’s openly gay in town," said Punke.

She said Jones is very well known in New Glasgow.

"He's a musician and he’s very open about his sexuality in that he encourages conversation. In fact just two days ago we were talking about him going to high schools and junior high and talking to teens that are afraid of coming out. Just the nature of the evening and the people that we were with and the fact that he was targeted out of all of us," said Punke.

Jones was taken to Aberdeen Hospital but then was airlifted to the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax.

Police said the victim remains in critical but stable condition.

Police said they are still in the preliminary stages of the investigation and it’s too early to say what the motive may have been or exactly what happened early Saturday morning.

Police are asking that anyone with information on the stabbing to contact police.