Fanshawe student seeks justice against hate crime assailants
Between 3-3:30 a.m. on Sunday September 27, Erik Rozenski, a first-year Human Resources student was walking hand in hand with his boyfriend when two men attacked them from behind on Central Avenue, near Maitland Street.
The victims were about one block away from Rozenski's residence when the name-calling began. Rozenski and his partner began to walk faster, when suddenly one of the suspects punched Rozenski in the side of the head causing him to fall to the ground.
Rozenski's boyfriend (who wishes not to be identified) was also punched but managed to grab his cell phone, and dialed 911, which caused the suspects to flee down Palace St.
“I tried to run after them, but then I saw that a cruiser was pulling up and I collapsed to the ground,” said Rozenski. “I was hyperventilating and I fainted. Later I woke up in the hospital.”
The victims suffered non-life threatening injuries.
The twosome were celebrating Rozenski's 27th birthday in what was supposed to be a night filled with fun and laughter, that turned into a night of horror that left Rozenski and his boyfriend angry and appalled about what happened.
Rozenski intends to spread the word any way he can to help prevent hate crimes from happening to anyone else in the London gay community.
“It is all uphill from now. If I have to sacrifice my weekends so be it. I will do whatever I can to make my point,” Rozenski said.
Rozenski mentioned he has been called names before but has never been attacked.
“This is a wake-up call for me. I intend to stand up because people who hate, no matter for what, they have to know it's not acceptable and that it's not tolerated and that it will be punished.”
Since the incident, Rozenski said he has been “extremely stressed” and “very angry.”
“I want to see justice served and I want this viewed as a hate crime,” stressed Rozenski.
“The investigation is ongoing and we are still looking for the second suspect. In every case that we investigate we will investigate to the fullest and to try and catch all suspects involved,” said Amy Phillipo, media relations officer with London Police.
The London Police Hate Crime Unit continues their investigation and all efforts are being made to identify the individual at large.
Rozenski believes the attacker who was arrested seconds after the altercation is friends with “the guy at large.”
Along with his boyfriend, Rozenski wants to stand tall with Londoner Brandon Wright, also gay, who on September 8 was beaten inside a pick up truck. Wright jumped out of the moving truck to escape his assailant. His attacker is alleged to have used “hate based” statements during the altercation.
The incident caused Wright a broken arm and cuts and scrapes to his face and head.
In the Wright case, Alex Myros, 22, faces several charges, including aggravated assault, and had a sentencing hearing on September 30.
Charged with assault in the Rozenski case is Michael Kyle Gordon, 22, of Richmond Hill.
Gordon has no previous record of assault.
London Police continue to search for the second suspect. He is described as a male in his early 20's standing about 5'8”. He has short dark hair and was wearing a black t-shirt at the time of the incident. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact police at 519-661-5670 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or online at www.londoncrimestoppers.com