Utah Man Recovering After Being Attacked Near Downtown SLC
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A man is recovering from an attack that nearly knocked him unconscious and required staples in his head. It happened in broad daylight near the Gateway shopping center.
The victim fears he was targeted as he was walking on 100 south and 500 west.
This neighborhood has been home to 29-year-old Yadel Flores for 2.5 years.
#EXCLUSIVE: "I tried to muster whatever words I could and started screaming 'help me!'" Yadel Flores suffered a serious concussion after being assaulted in broad daylight, near 100 S & 500 W in DT. Flores fears this was a targeted assault (on Mon.) His story at 6 on @KSL5TV pic.twitter.com/3whctzXPPs
— Garna Mejia KSL (@GarnaMejiaKSL) April 8, 2021
“I’ve done this walk many times, many mornings and nights, and I’ve never had to worry about my safety…but things aren’t the same anymore,” Flores said.
On Monday, his sense of safety was ripped away from him.
“I was walking down this way and as I got to that corner, I heard a man approach me . It was about 11:30 a.m.,” he said.
Acting on instinct, Flores said he reached for his satchel.
“I turned around and he was extremely close to me.”
But before he could brace himself, came a blow that nearly left him unconscious.
“He just hit me over the head, and my knees buckled,” Flores said.
Flores was left in the middle of the street.
“I felt damp in the back of my head, and so I placed my hand there and just immediately felt blood there,” he said.
His attacker fled as Flores called for help.
“But nobody was coming to help, ” he said. “I just felt terrified and scared.”
Flores said a car that was heading in his direction changed course but didn’t stop to help.
“The man had his left turn signal on to turn in my direction but then turned it off and drove straight ahead,” Flores said.
He said he saw another man pull out a phone before turning around and walking away.
“For me those flashbacks are currently the most traumatic – that some people saw what happened and heard me screaming and didn’t stop to help,” he said.
However, Flores said help eventually came when a Good Samaritan ran out of a nearby business, Towne Storage center, with a first aid kit. The man helped Flores care for his wound while 2 young women called 9-1-1.
“I’m very grateful for that assistance,” Flores said.
Flores suffered a concussion and bruising on his arms and legs.
“I had to get 5 staples in the back of my head,” he said.
But Flores said none of his belongings were stolen.
“My bag was open for him to take everything that he wanted,” he said. “He could’ve taken my phone but he just ran away after he attacked me.”
This leads him to believe his attacker wasn’t after money.
“I definitely believe I was the victim of a hate crime because of being a Latino-queer person, and I definitely get double takes all the time because of my outfits,” Flores said.
But Salt Lake City Police say they need more evidence to classify the attack as a hate crime. They’re working to identify the suspect and find witnesses.
Police said a hate crime classification requires that the suspects actions be motivated by their bias against a person’s race, color, nationality, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or a disability.
Flores said he only got a quick glimpse of his attacker who he describes as 5’8”- 5’10’, blonde hair, and wearing a brown trench coat.
“I’m pretty certain they were a homeless person who targeted me and nothing against the homeless, I definitely think we should be doing more for them, but it’s just unfortunate I wasn’t able to get a better look or that there was nobody around,” he said.
Meanwhile Flores hopes his experience will raise awareness for others.
“You can’t just be over confident with your safety… [you need to] look out for everyone, your friends, your family,” he said.
If you have info, call the police. There is also a go-fund-me to cover Flores’s medical expenses.
*KSL-TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.
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