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5 gay men attacked in Long Beach in 10 days

August 3, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Five gay men have been attacked in the past 10 days in Long Beach. It's been happening in the Broadway corridor, a neighborhood known for its gay and lesbian communities. Long Beach Police are investigating the attacks as hate crimes.

Long Beach Police are troubled because hate crimes were declining drastically, from 21 in 2006, to only one in the first six and a half months of 2011.

In a city that prides itself on diversity, Long Beach Police are now dealing with three hate crimes in less than two weeks.

"What happened in the last 10 days is something that is rare in our city. Long Beach is some place that loves each other, works together. And so for this to have happened in such a short period of time certainly is concerning to us. It's serious," said Long Beach City Councilman Robert Garcia.

Five gay men have been attacked in three separate incidents along Long Beach's gay-friendly Broadway corridor. In the first attack, on July 24, Martin Sanchez was asked by 21-year-old Jorge Ibarrias of Torrance if he was gay.

"The victim responded that he was. He was then punched in the face. And that subject is in custody. Felony battery charges have been filed along with hate-crime enhancements," said Long Beach Police Commander Joe Stilinovich.

Long Beach Police are still trying to identify suspects from two other attacks on Broadway. One victim was attacked by a man on July 27, and a group of three gay men was attacked by another group in the early morning hours of July 31. All sustained non-life threatening injuries. Investigators say the three attacks are unrelated.

Some local residents didn't want to show their faces on camera fearing they'd become targets. They say this is a sad reminder that such hate exists.

Long Beach Police patrols were increased in and around the area.

A unity rally was scheduled for Thursday at 6 p.m. at Broadway and Junipero.

Anyone with information about the attacks is urged to call Long Beach Police at (562) 570-7250.


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