By KAREEM COPELAND
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Authorities are investigating the repeated harassment of a rural Utah man who they said was beaten and had a threatening homophobic slur carved into his arm.
Rick Jones was attacked inside his family’s pizza business in April and found unconscious, Millard County Sheriff Robert Dekker said. Jones suffered head and facial bruising, a concussion and the cuts in his arm.
Five days later, the family’s home was spray-painted with a homophobic slur. On Wednesday, a rock and a molotov cocktail were thrown through the window of the home. That same day, the business was spray-painted, broken into and robbed of $1,000.
Jones tells KSL-TV he believes he was targeted because he is gay.
“It is just against Rick Jones and collaterally his family,” Dekker said. “They’re a close family. A great family. A good and respected family in the community.”
Decker said there are currently no suspects, but they are investigating people believed to be connected with the crime. There is a reward being offered for information helpful to the investigation.
Lt. Governor Spencer Cox released a statement supporting Jones and his family with “our deepest concern, solidarity and love.”
“I was horrified and heart-broken to learn of this cowardly and barbaric assault,” Cox said. “Immediately upon learning of the hateful acts, we offered county officials the full-support of the state in finding the perpetrators and bringing them to justice.”
Millard County is about 150 miles southwest of Salt Lake City.
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