Philadelphia Police are looking to identify and locate the suspects wanted for an attack that landed an employee of a local gay bar in the hospital for a week.
At approximately 2:40 a.m. Dec. 27, two men were walking north on 12th Street when they were involved in a verbal dispute with a group of people that escalated into a physical confrontation.
One of the victims, Sam Sierra, is gay, but told PGN Tuesday he could not recall if his attackers made any anti-LGBT remarks.
“I wish I did, but I honestly don’t know,” Sierra said.
Police spokesperson Lt. John Stanford told PGN that investigators do not currently believe the suspects were acting out of bias.
“There isn’t any indication that this is an anti-LGBT-motivated incident,” Stanford said.
According to Sierra, 34, who was working the door at Tabu that night, he and his manager, Joe Beese, were walking towards Market Street to catch the El back to their homes in Fishtown. Sierra stopped to urinate in front of the Mitchell & Ness sporting-goods store, when the group, consisting of three males and two females, passed and made remarks to Sierra about his urinating.
Sierra says he remembers saying something back to the attackers, but does not remember what. That’s when Sierra believes the verbal altercation escalated into a physical one.
Police said the group of five passed Sierra and Beese but a moment later two men turned back, surveillance video capturing one removing his jacket as he walked, as if preparing for a fight.
Sierra, who was knocked unconscious during the attack, said he remembers Beese trying to defend him from the attackers, who fled westbound on Chestnut Street.
Sierra was released from Temple University Hospital Monday after a week dealing with seizures related to brain trauma suffered in the attack. He says he now has to undergo rehabilitation and was advised by his doctors not to return to work yet.
“I’m told by doctors that I am not really able to work right now," Sierra said. "With the brain injury itself, they basically told me that I need to get my brain back in order, so to speak."
The one suspect is described as a white male in his 20s of Middle Eastern or Indian descent, at least 6 feet, 280 pounds, with black hair, brown eyes and a beard with a mustache. He was wearing a black jacket with a gold zipper and black jeans.
The second man is described as a white male in his 20s, between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-8, 140 pounds, with light brown hair in a long ponytail. He was wearing a black leather jacket with multiple zippers and blue jeans.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Det. Andracchio at Central Detective Division, 215-686-3093.
The incident raised concern of a repeat Center City hate crime, following September’s attack by a group on a gay couple in Rittenhouse. Since that time, Philadelphia has adopted a hate-crime law that instates penalties and jail time for crimes motivated by a victim’s sexual orientation, gender identity or disability, classes not currently covered by the state law.
From our media partner PGN