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Nobody In Custody After Twitter Users Help Identify Suspects In Philly Anti-Gay Attack

Cops thanked a Twitter user who tracked down a group of people thought to be responsible for an assault on two gay men in the city's Center City neighborhood. Update: Police said they have interviewed "several" people in connection to the case, but as of Thursday morning, no arrests have been made.

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A screen grab of police surveillance footage.
Philadelphia Police / Via youtube.com

A screen grab of police surveillance footage.

Philadelphia Police told BuzzFeed News that as of Wednesday morning, no arrests have been made in connection with a violent group assault on two gay men in the Center City neighborhood last week.

On Tuesday, cops released surveillance footage of a group of people thought to be responsible for the attack online and within a matter of hours, Twitter users following the case tracked down additional photos, location check-ins, and the identities of some seen in the group.

"No arrests have been made," a police spokesman told BuzzFeed News on Wednesday morning. "These people are suspects, but we don't have any of them in custody. It's a just a matter of time before we do."

But according to a report by ABC 6 News in Philadelphia, attorneys for some of the people identified in the video and social media have contacted authorities and are making plans to meet with police.

The two victims, a 27-year-old man and a 28-year-old man, were approached by a group of people around 10:45 p.m. on Sept. 11 and, according to police, made anti-gay remarks before physically attacking the two men. Both victims were taken to a nearby hospital, and one of the victims suffered lacerations to the face and a fractured jaw, which was wired shut, according to information from police.

Shortly after investigators released the video footage of the suspects, Twitter users scrambled to track them down. Greg Bennett, former reality show Real Housewives of New Jersey cast member posted a photo showing a group of people who looked similar to those seen in the video:

Other twitter users joined in the investigation and eventually identified the restaurant where the photo was taken. Twitter users @FanSince09 said he was able to confirm it.

Can anyone ID the restaurant? http://t.co/ie0dydP5Zj

FanSince09@FanSince09

Can anyone ID the restaurant? http://t.co/ie0dydP5Zj

8:42 PM - 16 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

@FanSince09 la viola. It's the first picture on their events page. http://t.co/hDHfBzF4b0

Michael Shepherd@MichaelShep

@FanSince09 la viola. It's the first picture on their events page. http://t.co/hDHfBzF4b0

8:47 PM - 16 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

@FanSince09 la viola downstairs

Just confirmed: Resturant is La Viola

@FanSince09 then took to Facebook to find people who checked in to La Viola around the time before the attack and said he was able to identify at least three people seen in the video:

So now to match from this https://t.co/dhMjnU5Oou

FanSince09@FanSince09

So now to match from this https://t.co/dhMjnU5Oou

8:52 PM - 16 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Pretty confident I have at least 3 positive IDs.

FanSince09@FanSince09

Pretty confident I have at least 3 positive IDs.

8:58 PM - 16 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

If you're going to gay bash don't fill your FB profile with gay slurs and also delete that resturant check in from earlier

FanSince09@FanSince09

If you're going to gay bash don't fill your FB profile with gay slurs and also delete that resturant check in from earlier

10:03 PM - 16 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

@FanSince09 reportedly contacted police with the information, but continued his own investigation:

Keep looking. Anyone who mentioned La Viola on Ig or twitter. Compare me to pics and video.

FanSince09@FanSince09

Keep looking. Anyone who mentioned La Viola on Ig or twitter. Compare me to pics and video.

9:38 PM - 16 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Around 10 p.m. Tuesday night, police took to Twitter to thank @FanSince09 for his help:

S/O to @FanSince09 This is what makes my job easy. Sure, it's up to me to make the arrest but we are all in this together.

Joseph Murray@PPDJoeMurray

S/O to @FanSince09 This is what makes my job easy. Sure, it's up to me to make the arrest but we are all in this together.

9:55 PM - 16 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

This is how Twitter is supposed to work for cops. I will take a couple thousand Twitter detectives over any one real detective any day.

Joseph Murray@PPDJoeMurray

This is how Twitter is supposed to work for cops. I will take a couple thousand Twitter detectives over any one real detective any day.

10:02 PM - 16 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

I know two guys that should probably get a nice dinner at La Viola soon...

Joseph Murray@PPDJoeMurray

I know two guys that should probably get a nice dinner at La Viola soon...

10:35 PM - 16 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Murray was quick to point out, though, that despite the help on social media to identify the people, no arrests were made that night:

Let's be clear here. No arrests made. Central Detectives have done a ton of work and have a lot more to do. (Not a law & order episode)

Joseph Murray@PPDJoeMurray

Let's be clear here. No arrests made. Central Detectives have done a ton of work and have a lot more to do. (Not a law & order episode)

10:59 PM - 16 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

@FanSince09 later said that if he were to receive any cash reward money offered to help solve the crime, he would donate it to local LGBT charities:

I want that 10k. 5 go to my bills 5 goes to lgbt charities.

FanSince09@FanSince09

I want that 10k. 5 go to my bills 5 goes to lgbt charities.

9:13 PM - 16 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

I promise I will accept a reward check or key to the city in a bane mask

FanSince09@FanSince09

I promise I will accept a reward check or key to the city in a bane mask

9:15 PM - 16 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

And then, after declaring "case closed," @FanSince09 urged followers in other cities to take action when crimes occur:

Listen. We showed tonight that our city will not tolerate this. My hope if that another city realizes they won't tolerate it

FanSince09@FanSince09

Listen. We showed tonight that our city will not tolerate this. My hope if that another city realizes they won't tolerate it

10:50 PM - 16 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Because soon, the message will spread that this won't be tolerated. Not in our town, not anywhere.

FanSince09@FanSince09

Because soon, the message will spread that this won't be tolerated. Not in our town, not anywhere.

10:51 PM - 16 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

This is 2014, we have all the information we need at our fingertips.

FanSince09@FanSince09

This is 2014, we have all the information we need at our fingertips.

10:52 PM - 16 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Watch the original surveillance video:

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

Philadelphia Police told BuzzFeed News that detectives on the case interviewed "several" individuals in connection with the anti-gay attack case, but a police spokesperson could not say how many. As of Thursday morning, no arrests have been made in the case, the spokesperson said.