A GROUP OF well-dressed college-age men and women apparently dined at an upscale Center City restaurant Thursday night before some of them brutally assaulted two gay men on the sidewalk just two blocks away.
Internet sleuths yesterday joined Philadelphia police and reward-givers in a hunt for the group of clean-cut twentysomethings linked to the shocking assault.
The chase heated up after cops released video of about a dozen white men and women wanted for questioning in the attack on the two men, ages 27 and 28.
That attack, at 10:45 p.m. Thursday on Chancellor Street near 16th, took place in front of stunned onlookers and sent the couple, together for six years, to Hahnemann University Hospital with bruises and, for one of them, severe facial fractures.
The savage blows rained down after the couple bumped against someone in the large group, one member of which asked if they were boyfriends, one victim told the Daily News. The attack was laced with homophobic taunts.
Last night, Twitter users shared a photo of what appeared to be some of the same young men and women in the police video - several clearly wearing the same clothes - at what appeared to be a swank private dinner party.
That party took place in the basement dining room at La Viola West, an Italian restaurant on 16th Street near Latimer, according to a manager at La Viola across the street, which is operated by the same owners.
The Citizens Crime Commission last night announced a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the attack. Its anonymous tip line is 215-546-TIPS.
Also, Ryan Fenton, general manager of Pennsylvania 6, a restaurant on 12th Street near Sansom, told the Daily News last night that the restaurant's co-owner, Tim Adams, and business partners were offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to arrests.
You can view the video at http://ph.ly/bashing.