Police in Pocatello are searching for a suspect who viciously attacked two men, and some are calling it a hate crime.
According to police the two men said they were walking home from the bars at 2:30 a.m. Sunday, when a car pulled up behind them near Center St. and 9th Avenue.
“A male subject that we haven’t been able to identify exited the vehicle, assaulted both of them, and then entered the vehicle and left the area,” Lt. Paul Manning said.
At least one of the men was sent to the emergency room, the victims told police the only motivation they can think of for being attacked is that they were holding hands.
Social media around Pocatello has erupted about this incident. The All Under One Roof LGBT Advocacy Group posted on their facebook page that two gay men were attacked, and called for concerned locals to contact the mayor and city council members.
All Under One Roof Chairman, and former sheriff Bill Lynn, said the city is a safe place for everyone.
“I quite frankly think we’ve become a more tolerant society in a number of ways, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a long ways to go,” Lynn said.
Although many in the public have assumed the incident was gay-bashing, police said it’s hard to prove just what the motive was. The attacker didn’t yell any insults or slurs or apparently give any indication as to why he attacked the two men.
Right now, the focus is on trying to find a suspect. Which could be a challenge for police.
The victims and a witness found by police were unable to give a description of the car or specify just what the attacker looked like, beyond being about six feet tall and with the build of someone who spends a lot of time in the gym.
“It’s still an active case, but we don’t have any other information at this point,” Manning said.