Issaquah man beaten in ‘hate crime’
March 30, 2009
By Warren Kagarise
An Issaquah man and his boyfriend were beaten unconscious March 22 during an incident Oregon authorities described as a hate crime. The men were on a spring break trip when they were attacked on a beach in Seaside, Ore.
Seaside Police Chief Bob Gross said his department is treating the attack 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. The men, 22 and 23, are Shoreline Community College nursing students. They could not be reached for comment.
Police were called to the Best Western Ocean View Resort at about 3:20 a.m. March 22 for a report of two men assaulted on the beach nearby.
Information provided by the men enabled investigators to piece together details of the incident: The men stopped by a beach campfire after midnight. When they left the campfire for a walk along the water, three or four men dressed in black attacked them. Both men were beaten until they lost consciousness.
When they regained consciousness, they walked to the Best Western, where staff members contacted police.
Both men were transported to Seaside Providence Hospital. They were treated for facial bruises and released. 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 a 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. He assigned two detectives to investigate the case.
“I’ve spent time in Seaside and never had any problems,” said Alan Brown, a gay rights activist based in Eugene, Ore.
Brown said Seaside can draw a rowdy, out-of-town crowd during spring break. He applauded Gross and the police department for their efforts to find the attackers.
Oregon’s hate crime law includes protections for sexual orientation.
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. Police, a local radio station and an anonymous donor offered a $2,500 for information leading to the attackers’ arrest and conviction.
Reach Reporter Warren Kagarise at 392-6434, ext. 234, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.