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Austin police release video of alleged anti-gay assault during gay pride

Friday, October 5, 2012
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AUSTIN, Texas — Police in Austin, Texas on Friday released surveillance video which shows a violent attack on two men in the city’s downtown that occurred during last month’s gay pride.

The victims, Nick Soret and Andrew Oppleman, believe they were attacked because of their sexual orientation, reported KVUE-TV.

In the video, captured on a surveillance camera mounted on the Roppolo’s Pizza trailer located at Fourth and Colorado Streets, Soret is seen walking up to the counter and picking up a slice of pizza.

A man to his side, wearing a baseball cap and glasses, then turns to Soret. Within moments the man pushes the pizza out of Soret’s hand.

Seconds later Oppleman is seen stepping forward from the curb. The attacker then turns to Oppleman, punching him in the face. Oppleman starts to bleed. He lost several teeth in the punch, but the attack wasn’t over. The assailant then turns and pummels Soret.

Austin Police spokesman, Corporal Anthony Hipolito, said that the owner of Roppolo’s Pizza trailer turned the the video over to detectives as evidence.

Police hope that by releasing the video, the public will help them catch the assailant.

“It’s crucial. The high quality security video shows the assault as plain as day. You can see it even though it is dark outside,” Hipolito said. “The assault was clear. You can see who this guy is.”

Another man who was with the suspect, Jin Young Park, was arrested and charged with public intoxication, however police can’t find him now because he moved out of his apartment and hasn’t returned calls from detectives. Other witnesses nearby haven’t come forward.

Police describe the attacker as an Asian male in his late 20s or early 30s, about 6 feet tall with a muscular build.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 472-TIPS.

Soret and Oppleman will be keynote speakers Saturday afternoon at an event called March Against Hate organized by a group called Get Equal Texas. Several hundred people are expected to meet at Austin City Hall at 11:45 Saturday morning. They’ll march up Congress Avenue to the south steps of the State Capitol.

Police spokesman Hipolito also said investigators are working with the Travis County District Attorney’s Office trying to determine if the assaults are considered hate crimes because of the victims’ sexual orientation.

The video can be seen here, along with a report from KVUE-TV:

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