Sources: Alleged attackers claim mutual fight, not attack, on gay couple in Center City Philadelphia

CENTER CITY (WPVI) -- Sources tell Action News that the persons of interest are claiming an incident in Center City Philadelphia, characterized as a hate crime attack on a gay couple, was a mutual fight.

The two victims suffered serious facial injuries. They claim they were targeted for being homosexual and savagely beaten.

Sources say there was some kind of contact between a group of up to 12 people and the couple. The alleged assailants says someone in their group used a homophobic slur, sources tell us.

However, sources say, the alleged assailants said the remark led to a mutual fight - with one of the gay men as the initial aggressor.

Also, sources say, some of the people being sought in the case are not being cooperative, instead hiring lawyers and not giving statements.

Police said that no charges or arrests are expected on Thursday.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Philadelphia Councilman Jim Kenney wrote a letter to the U.S. Attorney in Philadelphia.

His letter was prompted by the news that even if the attack was motivated by the victims' sexuality, the alleged attackers still could not be charged with a hate crime under Pennsylvania law.

In his letter Kenney wrote, in part: "...I respectfully ask that the Department of Justice partner with the Philadelphia District Attorney and Philadelphia Police Department to conduct an investigation and bring Federal charges against these individuals under...Hate Crimes Prevention Act..."

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia says an assistant basketball coach at Archbishop Wood High School resigned on Wednesday evening. Church officials initially said he had been fired from that job, but they later said he agreed to resign. He will not be permitted to be a coach at any other Archdiocesan school.

Action News was at Philadelphia Police Central Detectives in Spring Garden Wednesday night as that man arrived with his attorney to be questioned by police.

We have blurred his face and have not identified him because he has still not officially been named as a suspect or charged with a crime.

"The investigation is in progress. We are cooperating with it. I think we would all be wise to wait the outcome of it," said Brian McVan, the man's attorney.

Earlier Wednesday, the Archdiocese released a statement acknowledging that several former students of the Archbishop Wood High School in Warminster, many 2007 graduates, are suspected in the attack.

The incident unfolded at 10:45 p.m. on Thursday, September 11th.

Investigators say the victims, a 28-year-old man and a 27-year-old man, were in the 1600 block of Chancellor Street when police say they were approached by a group of 'unknown males and females.'

The group of 10-12 people approached and, according to police, 'made disparaging remarks about their sexual orientation.'

That led to an attack, police say, with some of the suspects holding the victims while others punched them in the face, head and chest.



Philadelphia police describe the suspects as "a group of approximately 10-12 white male and females all in their early 20's, clean-cut and well-dressed."

One suspect is described as having a husky build, brown hair, wearing a brown shirt and shorts.

Action News has learned the restaurant Pennsylvania 6 at 12th and Sansom Streets has put up $10,000 for information leading to the suspects. The Citizens Crime Commission is also offering a $1,000 reward.

Anyone with information was being asked to contact Philadelphia Police at 215.686.TIPS (8477), text a tip to PPD TIP or 773847 or visit PhillyPolice.com. null
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