Police Investigate Possible Lawrenceville Hate Crime
LAWRENCEVILLE (KDKA) – Police are investigating after a gay man was allegedly assaulted outside of a bar in Lawrenceville early Sunday morning.
According to police, the incident happened near the Remedy Bar in the 5100-block of Butler Street around 2:30 a.m.
The victim, Ben Stoviak, left the bar with his boyfriend Aaron. At that time, three other men began yelling derogatory comments at the them.
“It’s just totally unreasonable, it’s terrifying,” said Stoviak.
The three suspects approached Stoviak and one punched him in the face. As a result of the punch, the victim fell to the ground. He was then kicked in the face several times.
“We’re not ashamed of ourselves — and that’s when they ran after us and one of them threw a punch at me, got me on the ground and they started kicking, punching, weren’t stopping, stomping — I have a boot mark on my face,” Stoviak said.
A Pittsburgh woman who say the couple being attacked and beaten described it, saying “it was horrifying, blood was covering his entire mouth.”
She didnt’ want to be identified, but said she and her girlfriend, and three young men were in the neighborhood when they thought they saw a fight. They ran over to try to break it up, but, then they realized there were two people on the ground, and five men were surrounding them.
It is believed that all of the men involved in the incident were in the bar for a period of time that evening.
Following the incident, the three suspects got into a black Hyundai and fled from the scene.
A person nearby witnessed the attack and was able to take down the license plate of the suspects’ vehicle.
Stoviak says he believes that the attackers only went after them because they are gay and because he and his boyfriend were showing affection for one another.
A gay advocacy group has contacted the local FBI, and the District Attorney’s office, in hopes of getting the incident classified as a hate crime. The witness told KDKA-TV News Monday that nobody should be treated that way, nobody should be hurt for not doing anything.”
Watch Ralph Iannotti’s report:
Stoviak refused medical aid at the scene and no arrests have been made at this time. Police say they are looking for three white men involved in the attack.
Late Monday night, police said they had identified one person suspected in the attack. They have not released the person’s name, but said he is charged with simple assault and will receive a summons in the mail.
Anyone with information is asked to call Zone 2 Police at (412)-255-2827.