Cops Flag 'Persons of Interest' in Jussie Smollett Attack

They were spotted near scene of Chicago attack
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2019 6:00 AM CST
Police Release Image of Possible Empire Star Attackers
This image provided by the Chicago Police Department and taken from surveillance video shows two people of interest in an attack on "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett walking along a street in the Streeterville neighborhood of Chicago, early Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019.   (Courtesy of Chicago Police Department via AP)

After going through hundreds of hours of surveillance camera footage, police in Chicago believe they have identified two "persons of interest" in Tuesday morning's vicious attack on Empire star Jussie Smollett. Police say the footage does not capture the actual attack—in which Smollett says he was beaten and had a rope wrapped around his neck—but it shows the two men in the vicinity of the attack around the same time it took place, Page Six reports. Smollett, who is black and openly gay, says he was attacked after leaving a Subway restaurant around 2am by two white men in ski masks shouting racist and homophobic slurs. Police say the attack is being treated as a possible hate crime.

The two individuals seen in the footage are not being described as suspects at this point, but police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says anybody with information on their identities should contact detectives, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. "They could have been the perpetrators, they could have been witnesses, they could have been complete bystanders who didn’t see the incident at all," he says. "There are still a lot more cameras that we have to look at. It’s almost like a digital puzzle. You have to put all of those pieces together and kind of watch them at the same time." (Lawmakers and showbiz figures have rallied around Smollett, who suffered a fractured rib in the attack.)

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