Surveillance video shows suspect before attack on Chicago gay bar: 'clearly he has hate in his heart'

A popular Rogers Park bar was attacked in an apparent hate crime Monday night by a man with a hammer.  

The owner of R Public House on the 1500 block of West Jarvis described the scene as "complete chaos" after the man started yelling homophobic slurs at customers, then shattered the front door with the hammer.

"We're known in the neighborhood as gay-owned, lesbian-owned, so for whatever reason, he was set off," said owner Renee Labrana.

She had just left when shortly before 6 p.m., she got a frantic phone call from her staff, who told her a man had shattered the front door with a hammer after aggressively threatening a couple on their way in for dinner.

"When they got out of their car, this man started to harass them," said Labrana.  "When they came in, he came in and started yelling homophobic slurs at everyone."

When the staff asked him to leave, the situation escalated.  

"He basically turned around once he got outside and pulled out the hammer and just started going to town on the door," said Labrana.


The man is seen on surveillance video carrying a long object after the attack.  

"Everyone was so frightened because it was so loud and didn't know exactly what it was, so they're running to the back of the restaurant, so it just caused complete chaos," Labrana said.

"We will continue to pray for our community and pray for the gentleman that was involved here," said Rev. Bob Niehaus, Associate Pastor, aChurch4Me, a church that meets at Center on Halsted.  "Clearly he has hate in his heart, I don't know how else to put it."

"My concern is he's walking around with a hammer and is not in the right frame of mind at the moment," said Labrana.

Fortunately, no one was injured. Witnesses say the attacker went toward the Red Line Jarvis stop, which is steps away.  

He was captured on multiple surveillance cameras but is not currently in custody.