Police Call Reno, Nev., Street Attack, Stabbing a Hate Crime
Authorities in Reno, Nev., are investigating a possible hate crime where a man allegedly attacked a woman and stabbed her male friend on the streets of downtown Reno on Thursday because she is a lesbian, the Reno Gazette-Journal reports.
According to police, the woman was with two friends at the 5 Star Saloon, a gay bar, in downtown Reno. One friend left the group around 5 a.m. to get her car and the victim and her male friend left the bar soon after.
Authorities say the victims told them that the suspect hurled anti-gay epithets at the woman after she walked by him on the street. The documents note that he had been standing on the sidewalk and the victim did not know him.
The woman told police that the attacker grabbed her shoulder, turned her around and tried to strangle her. The victim's male friend soon tackled the perpetrator and they struggled on the ground. Police say the man screamed when he realized he was stabbed in the leg. The suspect then ran away.
After the incident, the pair went to the hospital and reported the attack to the authorities.
Lt. Mohammad Rafaqat told the newspaper that hate crimes do not occur often in Reno. He said the attack would be considered a hate crime if the suspect tried to harm the woman based on her sexual orientation.
An FBI report from 2011 shows there were no hate crimes reported last year in the Truckee Meadows, a valley in northern Nevada, which is part of a small portion of Reno, RGJ points out.
In October 2001, Nevada passed hate crime laws that protect individuals based on sexual orientation. (The ordinances do not extend to gender expression or identity.)
Police describe the suspect as a light-skinned black male between 20 and 30 years old. He is about 5-foot-9 inches to 5-foot-11 inches tall and weighs between 130 and 150 pounds. He was unshaven at the time of the incident, had short black hair and was wearing dark clothes,