Utahn punched by shoeless assailant after leaving Salt Lake City gay club

A 31-year-old Salt Lake City man was punched in the face as he left Club Sound, a gay club, early Saturday morning. Jake Culley said he left the club around 1:15 a.m. with a group of friends and was walking to the Trapp, a nearby gay bar, when a shoeless man approached him and punched him in the face.

“I’ve never seen him before in my life,” Culley said. “He didn’t say anything at all. He just punched me and then he took off running the other way.”

There were other people in the area, including members of the group Safety in Numbers, or S.I.N., who were escorting club patrons to their cars and other destinations. When the attacker returned, four men from S.I.N. tackled the man and held him to the ground until authorities arrived about 15 minutes later, Culley said.

When police officers approached the man, he began punching and kicking them.

There appeared to be no motive to the attack and he didn’t use gay slurs or attempt to rob anyone, Culley said.

“He looked pretty crazy. I saw him walking toward me and didn’t think much of it until he punched me in the face,” he said. “I am so grateful for the guys from S.I.N. If they weren’t there and I were by myself, I might have got my ass kicked.”

The attacker was booked into the Salt Lake County jail on two charges of assaulting a police officer and one charge of assault. Culley suffered only minor injuries and said his jaw is bruised.

This attack comes just one month after another Salt Lake City resident said he was beaten outside the same club. Dane Hall said he was was attacked and hospitalized on Aug. 27 as he left Club Sound and the attackers yelled gay slurs. Hall, an openly gay man, was in the hospital for four days, severely chipped six teeth and his jawbone was broken in three places as a result of the attack.

Police are still looking for Hall’s attacker and said he is a white, adult in his mid-20s; 5 feet, 10 inches tall with a medium build; short or shaved, lighter-colored or possibly sandy-blond hair. He was last seen getting into a gray or silver, four-door, compact car with a hatchback. This vehicle may have a white, vinyl sticker, about 10 to 12 inches in size, in the rear window of the hatchback.

Another man was attacked in American Fork outside a hair salon earlier this month by three assailants who shouted gay slurs and the case is being investigated as a possible hate-motivated crime.

Police urge patrons to be cautious while leaving clubs, bars and any other locations at night. Anyone with information about the attacks that have occurred in the area should call the Salt Lake City Police at 801-799-3000.

Seth Bracken

Seth Bracken is the editor of QSaltLake

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