Authorities investigate possible hate crime in SLC

Posted at 8:05 PM, Jul 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-11 22:05:33-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Two separate attacks against a White teenager and a White 32-year-old man in Salt Lake City are being investigated as possible hate crimes, authorities confirmed Monday.

The alleged assaults occurred Friday night within hours of each other. Salt Lake City police suspect the two incidents are connected.

"We believe they were being targeted because of their race," said Det. Greg Wilking with Salt Lake City police.

The first incident occurred at around 10 p.m. Police say the 15-year-old was walking with friends by Temple Square when they were approached by two young Black men asking about a lighter.

"Then started saying stuff to the effect of look at this White boy, hey White boy, then they attacked one of these young men," Wilking said.

Less than three hours later a few blocks away at 100 S. Regent Street, a 32-year-old told police he was approached by three young black men and asked about racial issues.

"When he basically said he didn't understand the question they were asking, they attacked him, hit him and he went to the ground and they were kicking him," Wilking said.

Neither victim was seriously injured, but police say, because of the racial comments both victims reported it could be a hate crime.

The suspect description is vague -- young black men either late teens or early twenties.

Detectives are hoping to find surveillance video that will give them a better look at the suspects.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.