Posted on: March 2, 2021, 01:08h.
Last updated on: March 2, 2021, 01:08h.
Missouri authorities are investigating a possible hate crime after two men suffered serious injuries in an attack outside of the Ameristar Casino Resort Spa St. Charles this past weekend.
Both men were treated for injuries at local hospitals from alleged punches and kicks. They will require continuing medical treatment, KTVI, a local TV station, reported.
The assailants allegedly made anti-gay slurs before attacking the two men, according to one of the victims. But the attackers continued to allegedly beat up the men despite their pleas to stop the violence.
One man suffered a fractured nose and eye-socket. The injuries will require surgery, KTVI reported.
The other man was attacked and became unconscious, KTVI said. He will lose several teeth, the report adds.
The two men had been inside the casino early Saturday. They were accompanied by friends and relatives.
One of them had too much to drink, the report said. So, the second man was assisting him to their car in the casino’s parking garage.
That is when the violence erupted. A third man who was with a group heading into the casino allegedly taunted the two men. He made a motion like he was going to punch them, reports said.
“They saw me with my arms wrapped around him and that’s why they did that … motion,” the victim told KTVI.
A punch was thrown, and two or more people in the group started allegedly beating the two men.
“As I’m crawling over to him, I’m begging them, ‘Please stop. Please stop. We’re done.’ Then they hit me in the stomach, I say, ‘please, we’re done, we’re done.’ They say, ‘(profanity) right, you’re (profanity) done,’” KTVI reported the man’s allegations.
Hate Crime Allegation in Question
St. Charles police and a local prosecutor’s office were continuing to investigate the crime early this week. Police have yet to classify it as a hate crime.
“There’s a dispute as to what type of language was used back and forth,” St. Charles Police Lt. Tom Wilkison told KTVI. “At this time, we don’t have anything to support that the two people got beaten up or targeted because of their sexual orientation.”
If any of the assailants are convicted of a hate crime, the number of years in prison would increase from a possible four years to seven years, the report said based on Missouri law.
It appears the incident was captured on video surveillance cameras at the casino. But KSDK, another local TV station, said the tape does not include any audio of the statements made during the altercation.
Victim Asks: How Do We Feel Safe Now
One of the men appears traumatized from the attack.
“How do we go anywhere and feel safe if we get attacked there, especially someplace like Ameristar, who should have top-notch security. If it happens there, it could happen anywhere,” the victim told KTVI.
In response to the incident, Ameristar released a statement to local media:
“The safety and security of our guests and team members are among our highest priorities, and we have a robust security and surveillance presence throughout our property. We have zero-tolerance for those who commit acts of violence or intolerance and are working closely with law enforcement in their investigation. Due to the ongoing police investigation, we are unable to provide additional details on this matter.”
Drug Charge at Casino Last Summer
Also, the St. Charles casino was the site of Ledra A. Craig, 43, allegedly selling fentanyl. He was charged last August. The drugs may have led to another man’s death.