Police search for group accused of two unprovoked attacks in Center City

- Police are asking for the public’s help identifying a group of men accused of two attacks in Center City.

It happened in the heart of Center City12th  and Market near the Hard Rock Cafe, the Reading Terminal and the Convention Center. Police say it was there that a 57-year-old New Yorker was attacked from behind by a group of young men.

"The male in the white hooded sweatshirt when you see the video strikes him with a closed fist in the facecausing substantial injuries," Captain Sekou Kinebrew told FOX 29.

"It's an assault," Brian Swaza said. He was outraged by the violent attack. Swaza walks through the area often and wondered why the young men would randomly punch out the victim for no reason.

"It was completely unprovoked. I said nothing. I had my headphones in. I was walking up the street," the victim of the second attack told FOX 29 by telephone Tuesday night. 

Police say a second attack occurred moments later a few blocks away at 9th and Market. That's where a 24-year-old man, who we agreed not to identify, says he was targeted by the teens followed, then confronted and punched in the head. He believes it was a hate crime directed at him because he's gay.

"I think with the words that came out of their mouths and the actions that followed it's only safe to assume that," the victim said. 

"Huge concern I mean it puts fear in you just walking down the street, especially in a strange city where we don't even know where we're going," explained Erica Switzer from Tampa, Florida.  

The two attacks also upset visitors to Philadelphia. Erica Switzer and Iris Shaleb are in town for a convention staying at a downtown hotel.

"It's scary for sure, but you have to protect yourself and be aware of your surroundings," Shaleb told fox 29.

Police noted that on the video, one of the attackers appeared to be dancing after the first assault at 12th and Market. The second victim did not sustain any major injuries. He's a longtime resident of Philadelphia. 

Anyone with information about the alleged crime or these suspects is urged to contact Central Detective Division at (215) 686-3093 ext. 3094.

To submit a tip via telephone, dial (215) 686-TIPS (8477) or text a tip to PPD TIP (773847). All tips are confidential.

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