San Diego Mayor Calls Gay-Bashers Cowards

Gay BashingSAN DIEGO – Mayor Jerry Sanders called them cowards. Police Chief William Lansdowne vowed that his officers would find them. And City Attorney Michael Aguirre urged them to surrender.
They were talking about the three young men who attacked five victims with baseball bats and a knife near Balboa Park as the gay pride festival was coming to a close Saturday night.
The assault was an unprovoked hate crime that will be prosecuted as an attempted-murder case, city officials said yesterday. Previously, authorities reported three victims. Yesterday, they increased the number to five. The men were confronted about 10:45 p.m. on Redwood Circle, near the lawn bowling center east of Sixth Avenue and north of Laurel Street.
Sanders said the assailants taunted their victims with anti-gay insults as they were beating them.
“Clearly, these animals wanted to push these men back into the closet,” he said at a City Hall news conference yesterday. “We won’t and shouldn’t allow that to occur.”
One of the victims remained hospitalized with a fractured skull and faces possible reconstructive surgery. Another suffered superficial stab wounds.
es were providing detectives a detailed description of the assailants, ages about 18 to 23, and composite drawings may be produced.
Lansdowne said five detectives have been assigned to the case and he was confident there would be arrests.
“I am absolutely convinced we will solve this crime,” he said.
San Diego police last night served a search warrant at an apartment on First Avenue in Park West in connection with the case. There was no word late last night on whether anyone was arrested.
Aguirre urged those involved in the “violent rampage” to quickly turn themselves in. He said the crimes are serious felonies that will be prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office. He said his office would assist if needed.
Councilwoman Toni Atkins, whose district includes Balboa Park, said, “The quicker we solve this crime, the safer the community will be.”
Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community who attended the news conference said they are planning a rally later this week.
Between January and June, there were 23 reported hate crimes in San Diego. Fourteen of those crimes were related to ethnicity, five to sexual orientation and four to religion.
Anyone with information about the attackers is asked to call (619) 531-2000 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-TIPS.
from The San Diego Union-Tribune

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