KVUE's Interview with Nick Soret | credit: KVUE.com
The Austin Police Department is investigating a possible hate crime after two gay men were attacked late Friday night at the Ropollo's trailer at the corner of 4th Street and Colorado during Austin Pride weekend.
As Austin's LGBT community was kicking off Pride celebrations around town, Nick Soret of Austin and Andrew Oppleman of Houston were headed down to 4th Street in the Warehouse District Friday night, stopping at Ropollo's Pizza trailer near the corner of 4th Street and Colorado to grab a late night meal.
According to his interview with KVUE, it was there that another man asked Soret, "What are you looking at?" to which he told him he wasn't looking at anything. Thinking the confrontation was over, Soret went to pick up his order. The attacker then knocked his slice of pizza on to him burning his arm. It was then that Soret's friend, Oppleman, who was visiting from Houston, confronted the attacker who responded by punching Oppleman in the face and then turned his attack on to Soret before running off.
Oppleman has a fractured jaw and lost eight teeth in the attack and will likely need oral surgery. "I'm an innocent by-stander, trying to enjoy Austin, for what it's worth. Unfortunately, this is what I got back," said Oppleman.
Soret, who had covered his head so he wouldn't get hit in the face received a busted lip and a bruised arm. After living in Austin for 20 years, he's lost his sense of security and no longer feels safe going down to 4th Street.
The attacker's friend, Jin Young Park, who according to Oppleman stood by laughing during the entire incident was arrested and charged with public intoxication according to the police report. According to KVUE sources, he was not cooperating with police. Because, Ropollo's has a surveillance camera on the front of the food trailer and the large number of people out that night, police are hoping they will be able to catch to attacker who could face charges of aggrevated assault.
"If it is determined that it is a hate crime then we can bring the suspect to justice and prosecute him as such," According to his interview with KVUE adding that it was up to the district attorney to decide if this was a hate crime.
Anyone who witnessed the attack or has any information that could assist the investigation is asked to contact the Austin Police Department.
Creative Director & Founder, therepubliq.com
Director, Marketing/Promotions & Co-Founder, The OUTlander Project
Producer, OutCast Austin
Chase is the founder and Creative Director of therepubliq.com and co-founder and Director, Marketing & Promotions of The OUTlander Project. He is also a producer and engineer for OutCast Austin, an award-winning LGBT weekly radio program on KOOP 91.7 FM in Austin. In 2011, he was named the Critics Pick for 'Most Gaybiquitous' in the Austin Chronicle's Best of Austin.
Additionally, Chase runs PlanetChase, LLC, a consulting firm providing a variety of business development services including web development, marketing, branding, technology to small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs; as well as meeting planning services for the financial services industry.
On his spare time, Chase has volunteered with local organizations including AIDS Services of Austin, the Octopus Club, the Austin Gay Basketball League and Volleyball Austin. In 2007, he was appointed by then-Austin Mayor Will Wynn to serve on the Austin Area Comprehensive HIV Planning Council where he served as the chairperson of the Community Access & Nominations committee.