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.”