Police Identify 7 Suspects In 'Potentially' Anti-LGBTQ Attack On 2 Michigan State Students

Police investigating a recent attack on two Michigan State University students have identified seven suspects they believe are connected to the alleged assault.

In a statement shared Tuesday, Michigan State University police said that the suspects “potentially” chose the two students “because of the suspects’ sexual orientation bias.” MSU police will recommend charges for the suspects to the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office once the investigation concludes.

Police noted that none of the suspects involved in the incident, which occurred at the university’s library on Monday, were MSU-affiliated. Police also confirmed to HuffPost that the suspects are teenagers but didn’t provide any additional comments.

The State News, MSU’s student newspaper, reported that the two victims, who spent approximately nine hours in the emergency room for their injuries, expressed dissatisfaction over the university not paying for their medical bills. The victims also called for increased security at the university.

According to a public statement from university officials, the two victims may have also been targeted because of their racial identities.

“Occurring during Pride Month at MSU, this incident follows related concerns raised by students, underscoring its significance. We also know this has been an exceptionally challenging year for our Black students going back to this summer and throughout the academic year,” Vennie Gore, the senior vice president for MSU’s student life and engagement department, and Doug Monette, the school’s interim vice president and chief safety officer, said in a joint statement.

“We hear you and affirm our commitment to respect, compassion and acceptance for all. MSU stands with our LGBTQIA2S+ and Black Spartans and sends a clear message that violence is unacceptable,” they added.

At a press conference Tuesday, Michigan’s Attorney General Dana Nessel said that the suspects cannot be charged with a hate crime if they targeted the two victims based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Michigan state law does not protect victims of crimes based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

“It’s not an included class, under the Ethnic Intimidation Act,” Nessel said, according to NBC News. “It would be, under the proposed laws in both the House and the Senate. I have encouraged the Legislature to move forward on that, and this might be an example of why it’s so important to do so.”

According to an FBI report published in 2019, more than 314 hate crime incidents were reported on college and university campuses in 2018, while another report from the agency released earlier this year found that hate crimes in elementary schools, secondary schools and colleges increased between 2018 and 2022.