Calgary

Brentwood barber says he is the victim of a case of mistaken identity after attack against same-sex couple

Patrick Chen came into work this week to find his phone ringing off the hook. 

Patrick Chen says he's been unfairly threatened over the past week

Patrick Chen, who runs a barbershop in Brentwood, says he's been the victim of a case of mistaken identity over the past week. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

Patrick Chen came into work this week to find his phone ringing off the hook. 

"I didn't know if they were looking for appointments or calling for something else," said Chen, who runs a barber shop in Brentwood.

But soon, he found angry voices on the other end of the line, yelling and swearing at him. Chen said one caller went even further.

"[They said] I'm going to burn your shop down. Just wait and see what's going to happen," Chen said. "They [yelled] at me, they swear."

It soon became clear to Chen that he had become involved in a case of mistaken identity in relation to a possible hate attack against a same-sex couple earlier this week.

In that incident, a same-sex couple was walking near the intersection of Ninth Street and Memorial Drive N.W. when two men and two women on scooters approached them.

Police have said that it's believed that the two men on scooters assaulted the couple because of their sexual orientation, using a belt, rocks and a recycling bin as weapons.

Tips from the public led police to identify the individuals on Wednesday, though charges have not yet been announced by police.

The individual identified in the suspected attack is widely reported to be the owner of a barbershop in Brentwood.

But there is more than one barbershop in the community, which led to Chen receiving the calls.

"It's a very stressful time, especially after the pandemic and COVID-19. Most barbershops are also having a tough time right now," Chen said. "I'm afraid people will break in."

Chen said he has spoken to the police about the calls and plans to file an official report.

"I do respect anybody," he said. "My biggest hope is that people would understand that."

2 other suspected hate-motivated crimes

Police are also investigating two other suspected hate-motivated crimes against the LGBT community that happened last weekend.

According to police, a man was assaulted and called homophobic slurs by a group of men near the intersection of 17th Avenue and 12th Street S.W. on Friday.

The next day, at approximately 1 p.m., a drag king was recording a video on the rainbow crosswalk at the intersection of Centre Street and Stephen Avenue S.W.

An unknown man spat on the drag king, and the incident is now being investigated and video and CCTV footage is being collected by police.

"It is shocking to see anyone targeted for a crime because of a personal characteristic, but it is extremely disturbing to see the same community targeted three times in one weekend," said Sgt. Arlene Padnivelan with the Calgary police diversity resource team in an emailed release Tuesday.

"It is unacceptable that this is happening and we will absolutely investigate anytime a crime is motivated by hate or bias."

With files from Terri Trembath and Sarah Rieger

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