Gay man attacked at Gresham park in possible hate crime - KPTV - FOX 12

Suspected hate crime victim: 'I thought they were going to kill me'

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Adam Salnardi Adam Salnardi
GRESHAM, OR (KPTV) -

Five teenagers lured a 24-year-old man to a Gresham park Friday morning under the guise that he would be meeting a consenting adult for a sexual encounter.

Once there, the man was attacked and robbed by the group of teens, police said.

Gresham police officers responded to the armed robbery at Vance Park on 182nd Avenue shortly after midnight.

They were told four masked male teenagers and one masked female teen displayed guns as they punched and kicked the victim in an ambush. They stole his wallet and cell phone, and took other personal items, police said.

Adam Salnardi spoke out about his attack to Fox 12.

"When I got there I saw that he was wearing a mask and I tried to walk back and then I saw people come out behind the trees and they socked me and pushed me down on the ground and started kicking me all over," he said. "I thought they were going to kill me."

Salnardi said they held guns on him and called him names throughout the attack. They even stole his shoes, he said, before running away.

Salnardi said he had been chatting with someone on MeetMe.com and they decided to meet at the park. He said he didn't consider that he was walking into an ambush.

He said he's grateful the suspects were caught and he wants others to be wary about who they talk to online and how they decide to meet.

"Just be aware," he said. "This could've happened to anybody."

Two of the teens were arrested at the park, and police were able to track down three others at an apartment complex at 192nd Avenue and Burnside. A SWAT team responded there, and the teens surrendered.

Gresham police said 19-year-old Justin Simms is the lone adult in the alleged crime. Three 16-year-old boys, one 14-year-old girl and Simms were all taken into custody on charges of second-degree robbery, first-degree intimidation and third-degree assault.

Detectives fear the group of teens may have recently attacked other gay men using a similar ruse, possibly at Vance Park or in the surrounding area.

Anyone who may have experienced something similar or believe they were the victims of this group is asked to call Detective Scott Hogan at 503-618-3141. Police said "the utmost care" will be afforded to protect potential victims' identities.

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