Austin bartender attacked after leaving bar downtown

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by JESSICA HOLLOWAY / KVUE News

kvue.com

Posted on February 7, 2012 at 7:42 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 7 at 8:02 PM

AUSTIN -- A bartender at Oilcan Harry's says he was followed and attacked by two men after leaving work Saturday.

Steven Benoit says he began walking home from the bar around 3:15 a.m. when he noticed the men following him. He says one of the men punched him in the back of the head so hard his glasses fell off his face. He says the men chased him for several blocks through downtown before he jumped into a taxi and waited for police.

"I don't know if it's because they saw me leaving a bar, they thought I was gay and they were going to attack me, or they thought I had money," said Benoit.

Police say a short time later, they received another call to a disturbance. Another man called for help, claiming two men with a similar description had been harassing him. Officers took one of the attackers into custody. The other got away.

"This definitely could've been way worse," Benoit said. "I'm very thankful to be here and that nothing awful happened. I just want others to be aware of their surroundings. If you see somebody running around downtown being chased, maybe stop and help them," said Steven Benoit. 

Officers say it's up to the District Attorney to decide whether this will be investigated as a hate crime.

Police are still looking for the other attacker, a Hispanic man in his 20s. If you have any information, call the Austin Police Department.

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