Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsAssaults

Vigil for Victims of Hate Crimes

Violence: Labor Day attacks on three men spark rally in West Hollywood, to be followed by another tonight. One victim remains unconscious.

September 07, 2002|JESSICA GARRISON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Along a row of swank bars and restaurants in West Hollywood on Friday evening, more than 1,000 men and women put aside social engagements for a vigil to protest the Labor Day beatings of three men.

Detectives are investigating the attacks as hate crimes against gays.

Shortly after 10 p.m., Santa Monica Boulevard between La Cienega and Robertson boulevards filled with marchers holding candles and shouting "Stop the hate!" Restaurant, bar and shop patrons cheered them on from the crowded sidewalk as participants made their way up and down the West Hollywood strip.

"The shock is wearing off and the anger is setting in," Mayor Pro Tem Steve Martin said earlier.

Fear has crept into West Hollywood, long considered a comfortable place to be gay.

"It's just so hideous," said Dave Walsh, a friend of the first victim, Trev Broudy. "But it has really rallied the city in terms of saying, 'Enough is enough.' We will not be held hostage in our own city."

Nonetheless, there is a climate of apprehension.

Robert Ayanian, host of the Kachina Grill, said he now walks home after work with his cell phone set to call 911 at the push of a button.

"Until they're caught, I could be the next victim," said Ayanian, 39.

Jonathan Fullerton, 28, who lives in Venice, said the attacks leave him wondering about any public displays of affection."If you can't hug someone in West Hollywood, where are you gonna do it?" he asked.

Scott Travis, a West Hollywood resident, said he wasn't afraid of the attackers, he was enraged by them.

"I think they should be strung up," said Travis, 34.

Before Friday's vigil, Broudy's friends walked along Santa Monica Boulevard passing out fliers and urging people to attend. Coordinators expected hundreds at another vigil tonight.The Labor Day violence began just after midnight. Authorities gave this version of events:

Broudy and his friend, Edward Lett, were the first victims. They had just embraced and were standing on Cynthia Street, a few blocks off Santa Monica Boulevard, when a car pulled up.

Two men jumped out and set upon Broudy and Lett with a baseball bat and a metal pipe.

Lett, 22, managed to jump in his car and speed away, relatively unharmed. Broudy, 33, was still unconscious at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Friday night.

An hour after the first attack, another gay man, a 35-year-old West Hollywood resident whose name has not been released, was walking near Cynthia Street and Hilldale Avenue when two men attacked him, possibly with a baseball bat or metal pipe. He was able to escape with large bruises on the back of his head.

Officials say they believe the same assailants were responsible for both attacks.

On Thursday and Friday, officials released sketches of the two men. One is an African American man in his 20s, between 5-foot-6 and 6-foot-2, who was wearing a dark beanie or skullcap.

The other is also black, in his early 20s, 6 feet tall, of average build, with short black hair, possibly in braids.

Sheriff's deputies said the two were driving a 1987 or 1988 four-door Nissan Sentra, possibly light brown or faded red with dark tinted rear windows and California license plates with the partial number of 3SDO or 3SOU.

A $50,000 reward is being offered by Broudy's family, owners of the Abbey restaurant/bar, and West Hollywood novelist Christopher Rice, son of Anne Rice.

Friends worried about the recovery of Broudy, who they say is devoted to his friends and his dog, Rigs.

Broudy, who does voice-over work, is known for calling his friends and doing impersonations.

"He's a man of a thousand voices," Walsh said. "He'll call me as an old woman. Then he calls me as an Indian doctor."

But Walsh said he always knew it was Broudy, and he always knows the calls mean his friend cares about him.

"I just want him to wake up and be with us," Walsh said.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|