Police in Philadelphia, PA, are investigating a possible homophobic attack in Center City.
According to ABC News 6, the victim, an unnamed 50-year-old man, was jumped on the street by a group of four men and one woman. The violent attack occurred around 11pm last Sunday, January 27, outside the Toasted Walnut Bar & Kitchen, a gay bar on Walnut Street.
Josh Schonewolf, a bartender working that night, witnessed the incident and told reporters that the assailants “[were] definitely calling him some gay slurs as they were beating him up.”
Bystanders reportedly tried to break up the fight, including the bar’s general manager, who was punched in the face when he tried to intervene.
All five attackers fled the scene in a vehicle and are still at large. The full extent of the victim’s injuries are unknown, but the location of the assault—in the heart of Philly’s Midtown Village, widely known as the “Gayborhood”—has local members of the LGBTQ community concerned.
“If this is happening at 13th and Walnut, I don’t know where we’re supposed to feel safe,” added Schonewolf, who’s from Philadelphia himself.
The bartender at the Toasted Walnut in Center City Philadelphia said a 50-year-old man was attacked by a group of 4 men and 1 woman who were saying gay slurs as they were beating him up. https://t.co/XzxKM2hfDP pic.twitter.com/q10Iujsk5D
— Action News on 6abc (@6abc) January 30, 2019
Local police are still investigating the incident and have not yet decided whether to treat the attack as a homophobic hate crime. In a statement to ABC News 6, Amber Hikes, executive director of the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs, said the office is “working closely with the police department, victim services, witnesses, and business owners in the area to determine what transpired.”