Marriage is love.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Another violent queer bashing or...

... No More Wire Wicks -- EVER!!!

The next whiny ChristoNazi who fusses about how oppressed they are better hope I'm not packing a hatchet, a machete, and a pistol and heading into their church/culture war HQ asking if it's an AmTaliban hangout as I'm downing a cup of coffee hour courage...

I'm so sick of candlelit vigils, I could scream!

[See comments for UPDATES and IMPORTANT Suspect Reporting Info]

Police investigate attack at New Bedford gay bar
[annotated and updated with extra info from Puzzles bartender, Phil]
By Ray Henry, Associated Press Writer February 2, 2006

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. --Police were searching for an 18-year-old New Bedford man who allegedly attacked patrons of a gay bar early Thursday with a handgun and a hatchet, wounding at least three people in an apparent hate crime.

The man walked into Puzzles Lounge in the city's North End around midnight, armed with a handgun and "some sort of cutting instrument," according to New Bedford Police Capt. Richard Spirlet. [NOTE: According to Phillip, the bartender who, before starting work there, had been a patron himself for about 5 years, there were two cutting instruments -- the one he used against several patrons was a hatchet and another, a machete, was found where he'd dropped it during a struggle before firing a gun first execution style into his first hatchet victim then at others who were down from injuries, then at another patron exiting the bathroom, then indiscriminately into groups of patrons nearby as the bartender helped ones at the other end of the bar exit out a door to that side.]

The suspect was identified as Jacob D. Robida, 18, of New Bedford. Spirlet said the incident was being treated as a hate crime. [NOTE: One woman who knows Robida describes him as a white supremacist.]

The bartender, who asked to be identified only by his first name, Phillip, because of concerns about his safety while the attacker was being sought, told The Associated Press that the man ordered a drink and asked if Puzzles was a gay bar. [NOTE: Phillip said his eyes were cold -- that he seemed at once emotionless and menacing. Phillip carded him, saying that, as it was Robida's first time in the bar and that Phil didn't know him, he had to ask for ID, and Robida produced one that showed he was born in 1982, which would have made him 23 years old. Phil said he was suspicious that Robida was younger than that but, lacking proof and concerned that he was odd, thought it best to serve him. Phil didn't know if he was asking about the type of bar because he was a potential basher or because he wanted to make sure he was in the right place. It's a smaller area bar with a mixed sex clientele who are often very close friends and thus physically warm with each other, so that wouldn't have been an unusual question. He thought, though, due to the dead coldness in the man's gaze, that it was more likely that he was in there for trouble and thus worth keeping a close eye on.]

He was told it was, then finished his drink and ordered another, Phillip said. He walked to the back of the bar where two men were playing pool. [NOTE: Phil could still see him from behind the far end of the bar.]

He shoved one of the men to the ground [NOTE: a cowardly attack from the rear after the guy turned his back on him to play the game], according to Phillip, then pulled a hatchet from his hooded sweatshirt and began swinging it at the man's head, cutting him [NOTE: severely, as the man went down]. The second pool player intervened, swinging at the assailant with his pool cue, but the man fended him off, the bartender said. [NOTE: Phil said that the attacker took the pool cue from the man trying to use it to save his game partner and began using it to beat the partner, then others who came to their aid, including Phil himself, who is still feeling the effects of one particularly intense blow to the lower part of his body, not to mention significant post-traumatic stress.]

Several other patrons tried to stop him, and at some point the man was tackled to the ground and the hatchet flew across the floor, Phillip said. He then pulled out a handgun and shot the two pool players, according to the bartender. He fired a bullet at a patron who was leaving the bathroom, hitting him in the chest.

"He was shooting at everyone," Phillip said.

Some patrons left through the front door while the altercation was taking place at the rear of the bar.

The attacker [NOTE: after pointing the gun at Phil's head from a distance of three to four feet, and sweezing the trigger with only the resulting click of an empty chamber] then shoved the bartender before leaving the building and running up the street, Phillip said. Moments later, the police arrived. [NOTE: Before leaving his behind the bar shelter to aid the his patrons, Phil had dialed 911, then dropped the receiver to the floor still connected.]

Robida was described as a short, stocky white man with dark hair. He was last seen driving a green 1999 Pontiac Grand Am and is considered armed and dangerous, according to Spirlet.

Phillip said the attacker was wearing all black [NOTE: pants, possibly jeans, with patches and had a hooded black sweatshirt that he had pulled up "over his face" gangster style when he sat at the bar] and that he left behind the hatchet, as well as a machete that he did not see used.

Two of the injured people were taken to Boston hospitals, and a third was taken to St. Luke's Hospital in New Bedford, said Spirlet. [NOTE: Phil heard the police radio report that, as one first attacked was being lifted into the helicopter the helipad on his way to Boston General, he was reported to have had no pulse. He had been shot in the face -- one report said that he was shot at close range more than once -- as he lay on the ground unable to move from his head wounds from the hatchet.]

The victims' names and conditions were unknown.Puzzles is popular with the local gay community and is listed on several Web sites offering resources to gays and lesbians.