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Police investigate attack on Las Vegas gay couple as hate crime

Updated December 11, 2018 - 4:42 pm

Las Vegas police are investigating an attack on a gay couple outside their apartment last month as a hate crime.

A hate crime enhancement has been added to charges against the suspects in the battery, Kealan Abraham, 34, and Andre W. Duncan, 39, Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Laura Meltzer confirmed Tuesday. The enhancement carries a longer sentence if convicted.

The two face charges of battery with a deadly weapon resulting in substantial bodily harm and conspiracy to commit battery. They were taken into custody Dec. 2, jail records showed.

In the pair’s arrest report, detectives investigating the crime concluded that the charges were enhanced because the victims — whose names are redacted in the report — were verbally attacked regarding their sexual orientation during the battery.

The battery happened on Nov. 29 as the couple was arriving home on the 1900 block of Simmons Street, near Rancho and Vegas drives. One of the victims was thrown onto a glass table during the fight, at which point, according to the report, Duncan picked up a piece of broken glass and began stabbing the victims.

The couple’s injuries included broken ribs, a punctured lung, numerous lacerations and puncture wounds, the report stated.

But issues between the suspects and one of the victims began at a Walmart several weeks prior to the attack, according to the report.

At the time of the battery, both Abraham and one of the victims were current Walmart employees at the Craig Road location, while Duncan was a former employee, the report showed. During one of their shifts together, Abraham and the victim had a verbal altercation, in which Abraham allegedly used derogatory terms, calling him an abomination “because of his sexual orientation and the fact that the suspect knew that he had a boyfriend,” the report said.

During that same argument, Abraham also allegedly used a derogatory word to refer to gay people in saying he “wants to kill” homosexuals, according to the report.

Walmart was aware of the comments Abraham had made, the report showed, and in response to the altercation had moved Abraham to the graveyard shift in an attempt to prevent the two from interacting at work.

Two days before the attack, according to the report, Duncan also showed up at Walmart while the victim was working and confronted the victim, “calling him by the same derogatory terms previously used by the other suspect.”

The victim told police he felt Duncan “was solely there to embarrass him in front of other employees and Walmart customers because of his sexual orientation,” according to the report.

On the day of the attack, the victim and his boyfriend, who had come to Walmart to pick him up, were warned by other employees that the suspects were in the parking lot waiting for him. According to the report, the couple did not notice anyone watching them as they got into their car but later realized a silver car was following them on their way home.

While one of the victims was unlocking the door of their apartment, he told police, he heard his boyfriend screaming. When he turned around, he saw his boyfriend fighting with the suspects, the report stated.

The couple identified Abraham and Duncan as their attackers in a photo lineup a day prior to the arrests, police said.

The suspects remained held without bail Tuesday at the Clark County Detention Center, jail records showed. Their preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 18.

Contact Rio Lacanlale at rlacanlale@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @riolacanlale on Twitter.

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