SLC shop worker breaks up fight after couple chased, called homophobic slurs

SALT LAKE CITY - Salt Lake City Police are investigating an incident where an ice cream shop employee was attacked over the weekend.

The victim says he was trying to protect two customers who ran into the store upset, after a group of men were following them, yelling homophobic slurs.

Michelle Turpin was walking back from the Pride Event in Library Square around 10:30 Saturday night, when she saw a fight break out in front of Doki Doki, an ice cream shop on 400 South.

"[I] saw two guys run 90 mph into a coffee shop with a whole mob, maybe ten guys chasing them," said Turpin.

Terrance Mannery was working behind the counter when the two men ran in, visibly upset.

"They said they were being followed and as I looked outside I could see a group of people making faces and a gentleman was attempting to come in," said Mannery.

The men said the group had been yelling homophobic slurs at them.

"They said they were being called... derogatory terms towards gays," said Turpin.

When the group tried to come inside, Mannery stopped them.

"I stepped forward and was pretty much like no you’re not coming into the store and causing trouble," said Mannery.

Mannery says after that he was pushed and a small fight ensued, spilling out into the street.

"Punches and stuff. No weapons, no kicking. Just punches and they seemed like they were trying to pull me out but that kind of worked to my advantage because I wanted them out of the store," said Mannery.

The fight was broken up by some bystanders just as Jen Parsons-Soran was walking by with her two teenage kids.

"[I'm] surprised that it's happening still because their generation tends to be so much more open and celebratory about LGBTQ people and their lives," said Parsons-Soran.

Unfortunately, the shop doesn’t have any surveillance video, but the group of young suspects did make quite an impression on the witnesses.

"They were all very clean cut, you know like blonde haired, blue eyed, typical Utah 20-year-old boys," said Turpin.

Manners says his injuries were minor, just a cut above his lip. If police track down the suspects, he will press charges but police say it will likely be assault, not a hate crime.

"We still have a lot of work to do in the work of equality and in the work of making sure people are protected," said Parsons-Soran.