Cops say Salt Lake attacks on gay men appear unrelated
Police said Friday they don't believe there is a link between the assault on an openly gay Salt Lake City man and an attack on another gay man in the same downtown area.
Salt Lake police Detective Cary Wichmann said detectives continue to actively investigate both incidents and are currently treating the attacks as aggravated assaults, but not hate crimes.
Dane Hall, 20, said he was brutally assaulted by four men as he was leaving Club Sound's gay-themed night late Aug. 26. He said he was walking home from the club at 200 South and 600 West when someone shouted a gay slur in his direction.
Moments later he was punched in the back of the head and knocked to the ground. As the assault continued, Hall said, one of his assailants placed his right cheek on the curb and stomped on the side of his head. Hall's jaw was fractured in three places. A chip from his jawbone jammed into his brain. His cheekbone was shattered and he lost six teeth.
In another assault, a man said a group of men broke into his apartment above Cup of Joe, 33 W. 200 South, and beat up the resident's boyfriend.
Wichmann said based on the initial reports filed in both cases, police "have no indication at this point at all that they're linked."
"There's a lot of activity down there," Wichmann added. "There's been speculations on all sorts of different things. As far as those cases go, they're being investigated, but they're not being investigated as linked in any way."
Wichmann said if detectives determine either of the cases was, in fact, a hate crime, it would be treated as such.