22-year old Rick Jones was finishing up his day at Grand Central Pizzeria and Grill in Delta, Utah, a restaurant owned by he and his family. He ended up staying late to finish up some paperwork, but when he went to take the trash out, the unthinkable happened.
“I went to take out the trash, and when I came back in, I thought it was strange that I didn’t hear the door close,” Jones said to Gay Salt Lake. “I turned around to shut the door, and someone grabbed me by the head and slammed me to the wall… I remember waking up and I was lying on the floor. Someone was on my chest and legs and they were trying to force me to drink bleach.”
At that point, he passed out again then woke up to medical teams considering to fly him to Salt Lake City. The words “Die Fag” were cut into his arm.
A few days later, Jones and his family woke up to “Die Fag” spray-painted on their garage door. Again, sometime after, a petrol bomb was thrown through his bedroom window with the words “You’ll Die. Burn Fag” spray-painted on the house. Thankfully Jones was home and able to put out the flames – the family restaurant was also vandalized that morning.
The police are currently trying to cover nearly 7,000 square miles of land in Millard County to almost no avail. The local media has given this story nearly no attention whatsoever, but the Sheriff’s Office sent a press release urging the community to find the assailants:
“These crimes are the latest in a string of crimes perpetrated against the owners of this local business. The Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating several different leads in these cases. There is a reward available to anyone providing information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators of these crimes. Also we would like to encourage all citizens to report any suspicious persons or circumstance to the Sheriff’s Office dispatch immediately.”
UPDATE****The Utah Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce announced they are offering a $5,000 reward for new information leading to the successful apprehension and prosecution of the perpetrators of the attack. The Chamber’s Anti-Violence Fund was created to provide victims of homophobic or trans phobic crimes resources for the prosecution of perpetrators. Members of the Chamber, supporters, and community members support the fund through contributions. Those with information about the crimes committed against Rick Jones should contact Lt. Morris Burton of the Millard County Sheriff’s Office at 435-864-2755.