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Two Stabbed in Hillcrest ‘Hate Crime’ : Violence: One victim is in critical condition after the attack, which police say differs from a recent spate of assaults.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A 17-year-old man was in critical condition after he and two of his companions were attacked in Hillcrest over the weekend in what police say appears to be a hate crime.

At 11:11 p.m. Friday, three males got out of their truck and were walking near Vermont and Essex streets when two other men approached them and said hello, San Diego Police Sgt. Micki Farrell said.

“And then, for no apparent reason, one of the three men was struck by one of the two men,” said Farrell, who described one of the attackers as a “skinhead.”

Police said the attack does not appear to be related to the 50 or so attacks committed since June by young black men on white victims in the North Park and Hillcrest areas.

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“The ‘wilding’ incidents, as far as my understanding goes, have involved black males and white males, not white males and white males,” Farrell said.

The 17-year-old, whose identity was not released because he is a juvenile, was kicked and stabbed, Farrell said. He was taken to Mercy Hospital, where he was in critical condition Saturday evening, hospital officials said.

Another victim, an 18-year-old, was treated for a 4-inch-long cut to the head and was released, police said. The third victim fled on foot.

One of the two suspects in the attack is a white male, about 19 years old, 5-foot-9, 165 pounds and with a shaved head, Farrell said. Police believe he used a 6-inch knife in the attack. They had no description of the second suspect.

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During the incident, one of the attackers “apparently called the three young men ‘faggots,’ ” Farrell said, leading police to label the incident a hate crime.

Activists in the lesbian and gay community have planned a rally for noon today at the Soho Tea and Coffee House on University Avenue to address what they say is an increase in violent crime this year against homosexuals in the Hillcrest area.

“In that community, we have to start banding together to protect ourselves and start working with the police to create more safety. . . . It’s time that we start doing something to take the streets back,” said Karen Marshall, administrative director for the Lesbian and Gay Men’s Community Center.

Marshall suggested that street patrols, similar to the Pink Panther Patrol in New York, may be needed to stem violence against gays in San Diego.

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While Friday night’s incident is one of the few crimes recently San Diego police have labeled a hate crime against gays, Marshall said she believes there have been dozens of other violent acts against gays and lesbians since the beginning of the summer, but that it is difficult to prove they are hate crimes.

“They say that the violence is random, but it’s all happening in Hillcrest, and the people that are being targeted are gay, (and) they’re just not yelling out ‘faggot’ or ‘queer,’ ” Marshall said.

The Lesbian and Gay Men’s Community Center already offers personal-safety classes, Marshall said.

“People are just getting tired of being beat up and tired of the expectation that we are fair game,” Marshall said.

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