Attacks put WeHo on edge

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com September 24 2002 11:00 PM ET

Police in West Hollywood, Calif., have increased the number of deputies on late-night patrol around Santa Monica Boulevard and the Sunset Strip from 12 to 30 deputies after a series of apparent hate-crime attacks this month, the Los Angeles Times reports. The latest attack came early Sunday morning, when two men carrying a baseball bat and a metal pipe attacked a 55-year-old gay man as he was walking alone in the 900 block of Palm Avenue.

"The two assailants began yelling antigay epithets at the victim as they hit him numerous times in the head, face, and body," read the police report. "The victim attempted to cover his head to protect himself." The descriptions of the assailants are said to be similar to those of the suspects in a September 2 attack against two other gay men, one of whom was critically injured. The suspects in that attack were described as black and 18 to 25 years old. One is 5 feet 5 inches tall; the other, 6 feet 2 inches tall.

On September 15, in what police believe is an unrelated attack, two people were beaten outside a Sunset Strip bar by a group of more than 15 attackers who were chanting, "Kill the Jews." Two men have been arrested in that attack, and other suspects are being sought. At a news conference on Monday, California assemblyman Paul Koretz announced that the reward for information leading to an arrest in the antigay attacks has been raised to $85,000. He added that he hopes California governor Gray Davis will agree to add $50,000 in state money to that reward.