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Volume 34
Issue 31
 
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Six attacked by baseball bats at San Diego Pride
Six attacked by baseball bats at San Diego Pride
Police make 3 arrests, mayor denounces 'cowards'

by Rex Wockner - SGN Contributing Writer

SAN DIEGO - Six Gay men were beaten with baseball bats and one of them was stabbed as they left the San Diego LGBT Pride Festival around 10:45 p.m. July 29.

On July 31 and Aug. 1, police arrested all three alleged assailants. James Allen Carroll, 24, and Lyon Tatum, 18, will be charged with two counts of attempted murder with a hate-crime enhancement and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon. A minor, age 16, also was taken into custody and will be charged with the same crimes. A determination has not been made on whether to charge the juvenile as an adult. His name will not be released.

The attacks occurred over a short period of time near the Pride festival site in Balboa Park after the victims departed a main-stage concert by '80s pop singer Deborah (Debbie) Gibson.

One of the men "had his skull bashed in and he's going to have to have reconstructive surgery," said Fred Sainz, openly Gay press secretary to Mayor Jerry Sanders.

The other five were treated at hospitals and released.

At a July 31 press conference, Sanders said "the attackers taunted the victims with antiGay insults as they were beating them."

"This is the very definition of a hate crime," he said. "I have a few choice words for the criminals who committed this vicious attack - and for any others who are contemplating perpetrating such a crime: You're cowards! Make no mistake about it: if you commit such a crime, we will do everything within our power to catch you. After you're caught, the district attorney and the city attorney will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law and make sure you end up behind bars for a very long time."

Sanders, a Republican, said "it's important that we as a community talk about these attacks and these issues. Clearly, these animals wanted to push these men back into the closet. We won't and shouldn't allow that to occur."

The mayor called Pride "a wonderful opportunity for our entire city to celebrate the achievements of the LGBT community. Over 150,000 people turned out - it was a huge success and the Pride board deserves our thanks and congratulations for producing a quality event worthy of our praise," he said.

Sanders was flanked at the press conference by openly Lesbian City Councilmember Toni Atkins, City Attorney Mike Aguirre, Police Chief William Lansdowne, police investigator Lt. Mike Angus, police LGBT liaison Lt. Margy Schaufelberger, and Jennifer Jones from the San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center.

"Solving these crimes is a priority," Councilmember Atkins vowed at the press conference. "Often, when people have been victims of hate crimes, they feel ashamed or are afraid to call the police. Our police department is absolutely committed to ... preventing anti-Gay violence."

Pride media coordinator Frank Sabatini Jr. said he was "incredibly impressed by Mayor Sanders' strong words that he pointed at the attackers and to those prospective perpetrators that he also sends a warning to."

On Aug. 2, Sanders said police detectives worked on the case for 40 hours nonstop to find the alleged assailants.

"We have a lot of officers who take it very personally when a crime like this occurs," he noted.

As in recent years, members of the San Diego police and fire departments marched in this year's 32nd pride parade, including openly Lesbian Fire Chief Tracy Jarman, who Sanders chose for the job last month. The City Council approved her nomination unanimously.

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