A 21-year-old South Bend man is in critical but stable condition at a hospital after he was struck with a pole on Friday by a co-worker at a workplace in the 1900 block of West Sample Street, police said.
The suspect, a 54-year-old man, told police the victim was making "kissing gestures" and "blinking his eyes" at him before he hit him in the back of the head with a metal pole, police said. The victim was found on the ground "shaking as if having a seizure," police said.
Another brief item ran in today's Tribune , indicating that police now believe the attack was not motivated by hate based upon the victim's perceived sexual orientation; rather he was just fed up with the victim's antics. The Tribune reports:
A 21-year-old man who was beaten with a metal pole remained in critical condition, police said Monday afternoon. Jose Contretras was taken Friday to Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.Beating someone over the head with a metal pipe seems to be a rather extreme reaction to the horseplay of a co-worker. It may well be that the accused lashed out at his victim because he interpreted his gestures to imply he and not the victim was gay. Either way it appears the attack was motivated by the perception of someone's sexual orientation.
A 54-year-old man was arrested immediately after the 1 p.m. incident at A.J. Wright, 1902 W. Sample St. Both men reportedly were unloading a freight truck when Contretras began making "kissing gestures" and "blinking his eyes" at the suspect, who threatened to hurt him if he didn't stop, according to police reports. When the victim continued, the suspect allegedly grabbed a metal pole and struck him in the back of the head.
When police arrived, Contretras was bleeding heavily and seizing. He was rushed into surgery for a severe head injury Friday afternoon.
Police do not believe the crime was hate-related, they said Monday. The suspect reportedly had been training Contretras throughout the week and was angry at his repeated antics, the suspect told police
A big hat tip to the South Bend-area AI reader who passed this item along to me.