Matthew Gillispie says he fears for his safety after being attacked in a parking lot
Matthew Gillispie, a 28-year old gay man, said he always felt safe in the North Arlington neighborhood where has lived since last August. But not any more.
Gillispie said his feelings changed after March 6 when he was attacked and robbed at gunpoint in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart near his home.
Gillispie, who is currently unemployed and without a car, said he arranged to resell some clothing via an iPhone application to make ends meet. He said he had planned to meet the customer about 10 p.m. in the parking lot, sell the clothing and deposit the money in time to pay his rent the next day.
But, he said, something seemed strange when he arrived at the designated location and met the person supposedly there to but the clothes. Gillispie said he noticed the man signal someone behind him, and that’s when two men grabbed him and threw him on the ground, holding him there at gunpoint.
“They said, ‘Give me everything,’” Gillispie said. “My clothes, money, my iPhone and my sense of safety [were taken from me].”
In an email to Dallas Voice, Gillispie said one of his attackers asked him, “Do you want to die right here in this parking lot, you fucking faggot?”
Gillispie said he wound up in the hospital for six hours. Police took his report about the attack the following day.
After leaving the hospital, Gillispie said he was shaken but determined to find his attackers. He got a new phone, downloaded the resale application and saw his old phone listed for sale there.
“I arranged to meet the guy like everyone else then arranged to meet with the Arlington police. They thought they caught one suspect, but it was the wrong one because he was Caucasian,” Gillispie said.
“But I suspect it was gang activity. There have been a lot of attacks in the neighborhood.”
A crime map confirmed a dozen attacks in his neighborhood since early January.
Gillispie was already out of work. When able, he works odd jobs through a temporary agency. But the money isn’t consistent, and it’s not enough to provide health insurance. Now, he said, the emotional and physical pain have forced him to temporarily stop looking for work. Instead, he said, he stays at the home he shares with his ex-boyfriend.
Gillispie said he already suffered from debilitating panic attacks, and the March 6 assault has made the panic worse.
“It’s hard to leave home when you are hurting,” Gillispie said.
When he does go out, he said,m it’s to the police station.
“I went for a lineup [on Tuesday, March 22], and one juvenile is in custody. I identified one of the attackers. The juvenile was not involved in the assault but had my stolen iPhone,” Gillispie said.
Two of the alleged attackers are still on the loose, according to the Arlington Police Department.
“It’s still an active case, but the detective is working some good leads at this point,” Arlington Police spokesman Christopher Cook said.
But Cook did note that police “don’t have any info to suggest the victim was targeted based upon anything other than a robbery,” adding that Gillispie had not told investigators he believes the assault was a hate crime.
“If the victim feels he was targeted for other reasons, we really need him to talk to us and provide us that information,” Cook said.
Meanwhile, Gillispie said he has started an online fundraising campaign to pay for mounting hospital and medical bills. “My medication costs are over $1,000,” he said. “Without insurance my numerous physician visits a month cost me another $1,000.”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 25, 2016.