photo credit: Jamie Lamor Thompson // Shutterstock
Cops in the case of Jussie Smollett, who was the victim of a homophobic hate crime on Monday night, think they have a camera angle that revealed a “person of interest” who is now wanted for questioning. Authorities have been looking at surveillance videos from surrounding stores looking for any footage of the attack.
Police have released images of the persons of interest, as they ask the public for their help identifying the people. The picture makes it very hard to see the persons. Cops are clear to say that these are “persons of interests” and not suspects.
According to TMZ, cops say the two people in the image were walking on New Street near the intersection with E. Illinois Street between 1:30 AM and 1:45 AM. They’re about a block from the Subway restaurant Jussie had gone to Tuesday morning, roughly halfway between the restaurant and Jussie’s home.
According to local reporter Rob Elgas, Smollett was seen on surveillance camera walking on the opposite side of the street as the two persons of interest. Elgas claims both Smollett and the unidentified people then walk off camera (on different cameras). Smollett is unaccounted for on camera for about 60 seconds. He then reappears on surveillance entering a condo building with what appears to be street salt on his sweater and the rope around his neck. Jussie arrives at a friend’s place where police arrive to take a report.
We’ve confirmed with law enforcement sources that Smollett refused to turn his cell phone over to authorities after telling them he was on the phone with his manager during the incident.
A neighbor in Jussie’s apartment building told cops she saw a suspicious man, one she described as a “redneck”, loitering outside the entrance of the building about an hour and a half before the attack. She was taking her dogs out around 12:30 a.m. when she saw the man near the door, pacing between the parking garage and entrance, looking agitated while smoking a cigarette. She described him as a white man with scruff on his face wearing a blue winter beanie, a blue zip-up sweatshirt with a hood and blue jeans that were too short, exposing “thick, grey hunting socks” with camel-colored dress shoes.
She also noticed what looked like a rope, or a clothesline, protruding from the bottom of his sweatshirt, made of white and blue material.
She says he was staring at another man about 300 feet away, who was standing near another entrance to the building. After 5 minutes she retreated back into the building , she says she got “creeped out” by the man.
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Written by Clarke Jones