The Salt Lake City Police Department is investigating a suspected hate crime that took place early Sunday after a Pride event.
Three people coming from the Pride event at about 2:30 a.m. witnessed a fight between a man and a woman near 154 W. 600 South, police said. When a man from the original group tried to stop the fight, the suspect punched him and yelled homophobic hate speech.
The two others from the original group then attempted to stop the assault, but the suspect also punched them while yelling homophobic hate speech.
Police said two people suffered minor injuries, while a third suffered a head injury but declined medical treatment and left the scene with friends.
According to witness statements, the group of three people and the man involved in the fight had met earlier at a weekend event.
The Salt Lake City Police Department reported that while what motivated the assault remains unknown, officers are investigating the case as a hate crime due to the use of hate speech during the assault. Officers have not yet located the suspect and have limited information regarding his identity.
Anyone with information about the reported assault, including photos or videos, may call 801-799-3000 and reference case No. 22-105521.
Utah saw an increase in hate crime reports in 2021, with a marked increase during Pride Month, The Salt Lake Tribune has reported.
Utahns reported 134 hate crimes in 2021 — 42 of which targeted members of the LGBTQ community, an increase from 22 such hate crimes reported in 2020. Specifically during June 2021 (Pride Month), the state reported 35 hate crimes against LGBTQ people, compared to 16 in June 2020 and 14 in June 2019.
— Tribune staff writer Paighten Harkins contributed to this report.