A man's confession that he pepper-sprayed a teenage girl in Halifax has left the father of the victim reeling.
Christopher Whittle told CBC News he went after the girl after she allegedly harassed his boyfriend at work for weeks.
Whittle alleged that the teenager repeatedly taunted his partner with gay slurs, and he finally snapped.
The girl's father replied to the story in an email.
"My daughter was completely devastated by Mr. Whittle's allegations," the man wrote, adding that she was "physically attacked without [a] chance to defend herself."
Whittle said he thought the girl was actually a woman. He added that he regretted the way he handled the situation.
Police immediately condemned Whittle's explanation, saying it is no excuse to pepper-spray someone.
Now, gay rights groups are also speaking out.
Kevin Kindred, a gay activist in Halifax, said the story shows homophobia is still out there and it's serious, but he added that Whittle's response was extreme.
"There's no circumstances in which it's acceptable to perpetuate violence against a harasser," he said.
"I'm just saying it's understandable to me how someone feels that pressure as a result of harassment and makes what ultimately is a bad and indefensible choice."
Jay Wells wants to start a Gaybourhood watch — a non-violent approach to gay-bashing. He said the pepper-spray case is part of trend he is seeing in the community.
"I notice people have a lot say and are standing up for themselves or want to stand up for themselves. So I stand by that. I want people to do that in a constructive, positive way," Wells said.
Whittle said he is glad he has told his story because people now know this was not a random incident.
He'll have to tell his story again before a judge when he faces criminal charges on Oct. 30.