Attacks against Palm Springs Men Are Not Considered Hate Crimes - Palm Springs News, Weather, Traffic, Breaking News

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Attacks against Palm Springs Men Are Not Considered Hate Crimes

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Palm Springs, CA -

The attack happened in broad daylight last Tuesday, as Andrew Vandekrol took his daily walk down East Belding Drive.

"I felt a big blow behind my neck and i went right to the ground," he said.

His phone was in one hand, vulnerability in the other.

"My phone slid into the street and within seconds the person who did that to me, just grabbed the phone jumped in the car, it all happened within maybe five seconds," said Vandekrol.

He was in shock, in disbelief but not seriously hurt.

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"I grabbed a handful of gravel where I fell and kind of threw it at the car," he said.

It wasn't enough though, as the suspects got away. Palm Springs Police are considering it a robbery and Vandekrol doesn't believe he was targeted because of his sexual orientation.

"I think it was just a random act, I was in a perfect spot on a little side street not paying attention with my phone on my ear," he said.

Two days before, Robert Shanahan says he was a random target as well but in downtown Palm Springs.

"I'm still a little bruised, kind of swelling," he said.

It was the end of Pride weekend on Sunday night. Shanahan and his partner were heading back to their car from Arenas Road.

"We were walking along Indian Canyon to the public parking building and all of the sudden I hit the ground," said Shanahan.

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He thought he tripped but the pain he says was more than just a fall. His partner quickly called 911 and tried to confront the suspects before the took off.

"They asked him if he wanted to be hit also or something along those lines," said Shanahan.

Police and the victims involved all agree on one thing, these aren't hate crimes but there is reason to be concerned.

"I still think Palm Springs is a safe place to live and visit, however you always have to be aware," he said.

In the back of Vandekrol's mind, his attack will always be there but not enough to control his emotions.

"be aware and be vigilant and don't let fear stop you from living your life," said Vandekrol.

A third incident took place along Palm Canyon Drive where a man says he was waiting for the Buzz bus when he was attacked by an unknown man. He tells KMIR News he suffered a fractured nose, lacerations, two chipped teeth, bruised ribs and a crushed hand.

Right now, Palm Springs Police are actively investigating all three incidents and are asking for the public's help in tracking down any suspects involved.

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