LONG BEACH — Long Beach police are continuing to investigate as a hate a crime a brutal attack Halloween night on two gay men, officials said.
Two Long Beach men, a 19-year-old and 27-year-old, have been arrested and booked for assault with a deadly weapon in the attack, which violent crimes detectives are investigating as a hate crime, said Long Beach Police Department spokeswoman Nancy Pratt.
At this time, detectives don't believe the incident is connected to three other attacks on gay men on July 24, 27 and 31, Pratt said.
The attacks on July 27 and 31 were investigated as hate incidents, and the July 24 assault was prosecuted as a hate crime. The attacker, Jorge Jhovanoy Ibarrias, 21, of Torrance, was sentenced to five years in state prison.
Monday's brazen attack occurred near The Gay and Lesbian Center of Greater Long Beach in front of several witnesses, who contacted police and paramedics for help, said one of the survivors, who requested his name not be used.
Both men sustained moderate injuries and were taken by Long Beach Fire Department Paramedics to a local hospital. One of the men was released Tuesday, while the other victim was released Wednesday, one of the victims told the Press-Telegram.
The attack occurred about 8:15 p.m. after the two victims, both in their late 50 s or early 60 s, had left The Center. They were approached near Cherry Avenue and Fourth Street by two male suspects who called them a derogatory name for gays, the victim said.
As the two men walked past the suspects, one of them took a cell phone picture of the harassing suspect while the other man was preparing to contact police. But the suspects attacked the men.
One of the suspects pushed one of the victims onto the ground and stomped on the man's hand in an attempt to grab his cell phone, the victim said.
The other suspect knocked the other victim onto the sidewalk before they rolled into the street. When the victim got up and made his way to the sidewalk, the suspect punched him in the face, and the man fell onto the sidewalk and became unconscious, the first victim explained.
One of the men sustained a cut to his left eyebrow, a bruised hip and blunt trauma to his left hand. The other survivor sustained injuries to his mouth and some damaged teeth, the victim said.
The suspects fled on foot, but were detained and eventually arrested by Long Beach police officers near Third Street and Cherry Avenue, Pratt said.
Anyone with any information regarding this incident should contact Violent Crimes Detective Jackie Bezart at 562-570-7250.
Anonymous tips may be submitted via text or the Web at www.tipsoft.com.
Follow Phillip Zonkel's coverage of the LGBT community on his Out in the 562 Blog at www.presstelegram.com