Police: Man was attacked for sexual orientation

Published: Jan. 28, 2011 at 3:51 AM CST|Updated: Oct. 24, 2011 at 11:43 AM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Police say 52 year old, John Skaggs was hospitalized after he was attacked at the Sandbar nightclub in downtown Shreveport.

"He's going to have some pretty serious reconstructive surgery, broken jaw, and broken bone that holds his eye socket," said the manager and owner of the Sandbar, Tim Huck.

Security personnel at the Sandbar held the alleged attacker, William Payne until police arrived.

Payne was arrested and charged with attempted 2nd degree murder and the commission of a hate crime.

"It was totally 100 percent a hate crime for this sexual orientation," said Huck.

The bar provided police with video surveillance. Huck says it's disturbing, and shows Payne who is a large man, breaking the cue stick over Skaggs' face with one powerful blow.

"His hand was all the way back, and he's swinging like a baseball bat, after three aggressive steps in," said Huck.

Shreveport police believe that the video will be powerful evidence of the alleged attack, and management at the Sandbar believes it will also help distinguish between a crime and a hate crime.

"At no point in time had he talked to the man that attacked him, bumped him. After watching the video and from witnesses they hadn't even made any form of eye contact or anything," said Huck.

Huck considers Skaggs a friend, and says he can't understand why someone would want to hurt him.

"Literally just enjoying a drink, in here four or five times a week, and never bothers anyone," said Huck.

When considering an upgrade of the charges from battery to attempted 2nd degree murder, investigators say they considered the total evidence, which includes witness testimony that indicates Payne made some threatening comments, and the video provided from the surveillance cameras.

Skaggs has been released from the hospital, and is recovering at home.

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