Three people accused of brutally assaulting a gay couple on the streets of downtown Philadelphia on Sept. 11 turned themselves in to police and were arraigned Wednesday night on charges of aggravated assault.
Philip R. Williams, 24; Kathryn G. Knott, 24; and Kevin J. Harrigan, 26, are accused of shouting homophobic slurs at two gay men, then beating them on the streets near Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia. The three were charged with aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.
The suspects allegedly held the men down and beat them in the head and chest while making comments about their sexual orientation, police said. One of the men dropped a bag containing his cellphone, wallet and credit cards; when police approached the suspects, one took off with the bag. Both men — a 28-year-old and a 27-year-old who have not been named by police — were hospitalized for their injuries. One of the men had his jaw wired shut and needed surgery for fractures and deep lacerations to the face.
“They’re still reliving it all,” Caryn Kunkle, a friend of one of the victims, told ABC News. “It’s really — it’s tough.”
Lawyers for the suspects say that the incident wasn’t motivated by sexual orientation.
“In no way, shape or form was this incident related to anyone’s sexual orientation,” Williams’s attorney, Fortunato Perri Jr., told the Associated Press. “This was a mutual confrontation that started because two individuals got into an argument out in the street.”
Perri told ABC 6 that “with respect to how it escalated, that’s unfortunate. But it only escalated after one of the purported victims struck one of the young girls in the face out on the street.”
The case took an interesting turn when last week amateur sleuths on Twitter used surveillance video posted by Philadelphia Police to identify the suspects.
A week later, the three suspects turned themselves in.
“The Philadelphia Police Department would like to extend its gratitude to the media and the public for helping us identify and arrest the suspects for an aggravated assault in Rittenhouse,” Philadelphia Police said in a statement.
In light of the charges, one of the suspects, Kathryn Knott, was suspended from her job at as an emergency room tech at Abington Health’s Lansdale Hospital. The hospital is also investigating photos tweeted by Knott of patient x-rays, a possible privacy violation.