Victim’s sister says El Paso beating was anti-gay hate crime; police say victim still unconscious

El Paso police say they’ve been unable to determine whether a brutal beating outside a gay nightclub early Saturday was a hate crime because the victim remains unconscious. Detective Mike Baranyay, a spokesman for the police department, told Instant Tea that the 22-year-old victim suffered a serious head injury in the attack. The victim was punched, kicked and hit with a baseball bat by six attackers outside the Old Plantation nightclub, where he’d been waiting for a ride.

“He’s got pretty critical injuries,” Baranyay said this afternoon. “At this point we can’t confirm that it’s a hate crime or it’s not. Hopefully by tomorrow we’ll have some idea.”

Although police say don’t know whether the attack was a hate crime, the victim’s sister told KTSM-TV that even though her brother is not gay, she believes it was:

We spoke with the victim’s sister, Deanne Martinez, this morning at UMC where her brother is still listed in critical condition.

Martinez was there Saturday night and witnessed the attack. ”He was on the floor laying there knocked out and they still kept bashing his head with a bat. That to me is so cowardly.”

Martinez says she and another family member tried to stop the attack but the men turned on them. “I was trying to pull out my brother and she was pushing off the guys. They ended up bashing her Jeep Liberty.”

So far police say they have no evidence to call the attack a hate crime. Martinez calls that ridiculous.

She says her brother isn’t gay but he was alone outside of a gay club and the men who attacked him made it clear why they picked him.

Martinez said, “They were yelling gay slurs and yelling their gang name or where they’re from.”

Martinez also told us this isn’t the first time she’s heard of that same group of men harassing people in the area.

She hopes someone comes forward with information about who these guys are. “I want these guys to be caught. Because this was a brutal and heartless crime.”

Baranyay told Instant Tea there had been no arrests in the case as of this afternoon. He also said he doesn’t believe anti-gay violence is a problem in El Paso.

“We’re a very tolerant community,” he said. “People pretty much leave each other alone in this town.”

 

—  John Wright

Man severely beaten outside El Paso’s Old Plantation gay nightclub in possible hate crime

The Old Plantation in downtown El Paso.

A 22-year-old man is in critical condition after he was severely beaten by six attackers outside a popular gay nightclub in El Paso early this morning, the El Paso Times reports.

The man was waiting for a ride outside the Old Plantation club shortly after midnight when he got into an argument with the six suspects. From the El Paso Times:

Police said that the verbal confrontation became physical and the six suspects allegedly began punching, kicking the victim. The group allegedly also used a bat to hit the victim.

One of the victim’s friends, a woman, tried to help and had her vehicle damaged as she tried to do so.

Police said that the suspect struck her 2003 Jeep Liberty windshield with a bat to stop her from helping the victim. The suspects then fled the area in what appeared to be a van.

At least one media outlet is already calling the incident an anti-gay hate crime, but thus far there is no evidence confirming that.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the El Paso Police Department at 915-832-4400 or Crime Stoppers at 915-566-8477.

Stay tuned to Instant Tea for updates.

—  John Wright