Issaquah man beaten in Oregon ‘hate crime’

March 24, 2009

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 2:30 p.m. March 24, 2009

An Issaquah man and his boyfriend were badly beaten during an incident Oregon authorities are investigating as a hate crime.

The men were on a spring-break trip over the weekend when they were beaten unconscious on a beach in Seaside, Ore.

Seaside Police Chief Bob Gross said today his department is treating the March 22 incident as a hate crime. The men told police their attackers used anti-gay slurs during the attack.

“Based on comments made during the assault, we would classify this as a hate crime,” Gross said.

The other man beaten during the attack is a Bothell resident.

Police were called to a Best Western at about 3:20 a.m. Sunday on a report of two men assaulted on the beach nearby.

Information provided by the men allowed investigators to piece together details of the incident: The men stopped by a campfire on the beach early Sunday morning. When they left the campfire and walked toward the water, they were attacked by three or four men dressed in black. Both men were beaten until they lost consciousness.

When they regained consciousness, they walked to the Best Western. Hotel staff members then contacted police. Both men were transported to Seaside Providence Hospital for treatment. Investigators said one of the men suffered “a significant eye injury.”

The men described their attackers as an overweight American Indian female about 30 years old, with a black ponytail, dressed in grey sweatpants and a matching shirt. Another attacker was described as husky white man in his late 20s, wearing a green shirt or a track jacket. The men said they believed he was the woman’s boyfriend. The men told police he had brown hair, possibly a goatee and a shaved head. His hair appeared to have grown out, the men reported. The third attacker was described as a man in his mid 20s dressed in a grey hood sweater and grey Carhartt-type work pants. The men said the fourth attacker was a white man with pale skin and long, black, frizzy hair in a ponytail

Gross said investigators “are doing everything we can to trace back the steps of these two victims.” The men stayed at the Shiloh Inn during the visit. They stopped for drinks at the Shiloh’s bar before heading back to their room. After midnight, the men headed to the campfire.

Gross said the men had walked about four blocks down the beach when the attack occurred. The attack likely occurred between 2:45-3:15 a.m.

Gross described the incident as isolated. Seaside, with about 6,000 residents, is a popular spring break destination. The police chief said the incident was the first hate crime during his four years with the Seaside agency.

Officers called for assistance to identify people present at the campfire before to the assault. Anyone with information about the case can call Seaside police at 503-738-6311.

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