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A young man in Delta, Utah alleges he was robbed, had “Die Fag” carved into his arm with a knife, and was forced to drink bleach on a Saturday night in late April, but it doesn’t stop there.
Five days later, the words “Die Fag” were spray-painted on his and his family’s house. And this week, a Molotov cocktail was thrown through his window and his house was spray-painted again, this time with “You’ll Die. Burn Fag.”
Millard County police are having a hard time finding suspects, because the young man, his family and his pizzeria have no enemies. Everyone loves them.
“Working through this has been a roller coaster,” Rick Jones of Grand Central Pizzeria and Grill in Delta, Utah said in an interview.
After business close on Saturday, April 25, Jones was staying late to finish up the paperwork for the Grand Central Station Pizzeria in Delta, Utah. Jones and his sisters and other family own and manage the restaurant.
“I went out to take out the trash, and when I came back in, I thought it was strange that I didn’t hear the door close,” he said. “I turned around to shut the door, and someone grabbed me by the head and slammed me to the wall.”
What happens next, Jones is unsure because he had passed out.
“I remember waking up and I was lying on the floor,” he said. “Someone was on my chest and legs and they were trying to force me to drink bleach.”
He woke up again as medical teams were considering life-flighting him to Salt Lake City, but he regained consciousness. He had lacerations — the words “Die Fag” cut into his arm — and a concussion. They attended to his wounds, held him overnight and released him. The following Thursday morning, April 30, Jones and his family woke up to the same “Die Fag” words spray-painted on their garage door.
But the story continues past the Utah Pride Festival Weekend, as once again, Jones was victimized by a Molotav cocktail thrown through his bedroom window and, “You’ll Die. Burn Fag” spray-painted on the house.
Jones was home at the time and was able to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher before too much damage was done. The family restaurant was also hit by burglary, theft and vandalism that morning.
Millard County Sheriff’s Office sent a press release on June 11 appealing to the community to help find the perpetrators.
“These crimes are the latest in a string of crimes perpetrated against the owners of this local business. The Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating several different leads in these cases. There is a reward available to anyone providing information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators of these crimes. Also we would like to encourage all citizens to report any suspicious persons or circumstance to the Sheriff’s Office dispatch immediately.”
Almost no media attention has been given to the incidents. The police are stretched, as they cover 7,000 square miles of land in Millard County.
In the meantime, a 22-year-old man and his family are being victimized.
UPDATE: The Utah Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce announced they are offering a $5,000 reward for new information leading to the successful apprehension and prosecution of the perpetrators of the attack. The Chamber’s Anti-Violence Fund was created to provide victims of homophobic or trans phobic crimes resources for the prosecution of perpetrators. Members of the Chamber, supporters, and community members support the fund through contributions. Those with information about the crimes committed against Rick Jones should contact Lt. Morris Burton of the Millard County Sheriff’s Office at 435-864-2755.
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