Man indicted for Austin Pride attack won’t face hate crime enhancement

Lambert Borgardt

Lambert Borgardt

A Travis County grand jury indicted a Lambert Borgardt yesterday for the attack of two gay men during Austin’s LGBT Pride weekend in September.

The grand jury didn’t indict Borgardt, 28, on a hate crime enhancement because there isn’t audio of what was said during the attack caught on surveillance video, prosecutor Andrea Austin told KVUE. Instead, he was indicted for aggravated assault and battery, a second-degree felony.

Andrew Oppleman was ordering pizza at Roppolo’s Pizza on Sept. 21 with friend Nick Soret when Borgardt began asking Soret if he was looking at him. He became enraged and attacked Soret, breaking his nose. Oppleman stepped in and was also attacked. He lost five teeth and had a fractured jaw from the attack.

The video helped police identify Borgardt, who later turned himself in, claiming self-defense for the attack.

Soret told KVUE that he believed the attack was a hate crime because they are gay and Borgardt kept asking him what he was looking at during Pride festivities, as if he thought they were checking him out.

If Borgardt’s charge was enhanced because of the hate crime element, he would have faced a first-degree felony conviction. If convicted, he now faces two to 20 years in jail.

Watch KVUE’s report below.

—  Dallasvoice

UPDATE: Suspect in attack on gay men at Austin pizza trailer turns himself in

Lambert Borgardt

Last Friday we told you police had identified a suspect in an attack on two gay men at a pizza trailer in downtown Austin during LGBT Pride weekend in September.

Andrew Oppleman was ordering at Roppolo’s Pizza on Sept. 21 with friend Nick Soret when a man began asking Soret if he was looking at him. The man became enraged and attacked Soret, so Oppleman stepped in. Oppleman was hit so hard six of his teeth were knocked out and it was believed he would need oral surgery for his fractured jaw.

Police issued a warrant on Friday for the arrest of 28-year-old Lambert Borgardt, on charges of aggravated assault and assault with injury. Austin media outlets are reporting today that Borgardt has since turned himself in to the Travis County jail. His booking photo is at right.

It will be interesting to see whether the Travis County District Attorney’s Office pursues this case as an anti-gay hate crime, which could result in the aggravated assault charge being enhanced to a first-degree felony.

Borgardt reportedly has been released on bond and is claiming self-defense.

LGBT activist Michael Diviesti of GetEQUAL TX told Instant Tea that more than 30 acts of violence have occurred near the corner of 4th and Colorado in downtown Austin in the last four years, and many of them have been suspected hate crimes.

“The fact of the matter is that the Austin LGBTQ community is happy that APD is working toward apprehending the man who attacked Nick Soret and Andrew Oppleman,” Diviesti said. “But City Hall and the Austin Police Department need to figure out how to provide uniformed officers on that corner to deter these types of attacks from happening in a high traffic area for our community.”

—  John Wright

Police identify suspect in attack on gay men at Austin pizza trailer during Pride

Victim Andrew Oppleman is shown after the attack.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this post said the suspect had been arrested. A warrant has been issued, but the suspect has not yet been taken into custody.

Austin police have identified a suspect in an assault on two gay men at a downtown pizza trailer that occurred during LGBT Pride weekend.

Andrew Oppleman was ordering at Roppolo’s Pizza on Sept. 21 with friend Nick Soret when a man began asking Soret if he was looking at him. The man became enraged and attacked Soret, so Oppleman stepped in.

Oppleman was hit so hard six of his teeth were knocked out and it was believed he would need oral surgery for his fractured jaw.

Police later released surveillance video of the attack, and they say tips led them to Lambert Borgardt, 28, who when contacted admitted to his role in the incident.

Fox 7 reports today that have issued an arrest warrant for Borgardt charging with  him with aggravated assault, a second-degree felony.

If the case is prosecuted as an anti-gay hate crime under Texas’ statute, the offense could be bumped up to a first-degree felony.

Watch the surveillance video from the attack below.

—  John Wright