Oregon police are searching for three suspects in the alleged assault and robbery of a transgender man who was pulled from the Willamette River at a local public park.
The 20-year-old man told sheriff’s deputies with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office that he was walking along a path towards the river in Boone’s Ferry Park in Wilsonville, Oregon, on Tuesday when he saw three teenage boys, one of whom directed a transgender slur at him.
The victim walked down to the river and was sitting on a log, eating, when he was approached a second time by the teens, who asked if he had any alcohol.
Forty-five minutes later, the teens approached the victim once more, and attacked him, with at least one of the teens punching him in the face several times and another stealing his iPhone. During the attack, the victim was either pushed or fell into the water and tried to swim away from the teens. The teens then fled the scene.
Sheriff’s deputies contracted to the Wilsonville Police Department received a 911 call around 5:47 p.m., with the caller saying a man was yelling for help along the riverbank, across from Boone’s Ferry Boat Launch inside the park. When they arrived on scene, they found the victim clinging to driftwood along the side of the river, possibly stuck in mud near the bank. The victim said he’d been yelling for help for a couple hours.
“He was either knocked into the river or jumped into the river, but he reported to us that he felt he needed to get away from this attack,” Sgt. Marcus Mendoza, of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, told NBC affiliate KGW8. “So what that tells me is that this attack was serious enough that he felt his best option was to swim away.”
The deputies rescued the man from the river and, fearing he might be suffering from hypothermia, called for medical help. The victim was also suffering from injuries to his face, arms, and legs.
Due to the alleged transgender slur and the level of violence directed at the victim, the sheriff’s office is investigating the attack as a bias crime. Deputies are asking the public’s help in identifying the suspects, and have released description of all three assailants and composite sketches of two of them.
The first suspect is described as a white male in his late teens, approximately 5’8″ tall, with chin-length brown hair. The second suspect is a white male in his late teens, approximately 5’8″ tall, with short spiked hair. Suspect three, of whom there is no sketch, is a white male in his late teens, approximately 5’10” tall, with blond hair, reports FOX affiliate KPTV.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office Tip Line at (503) 723-4949 or by filling out the online email form at www.clackamas.us/sheriff/tip. The case reference number is 20-014116.
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