Beating could be anti-Mormon hate crime - East Valley Tribune: News

Beating could be anti-Mormon hate crime

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Posted: Saturday, April 5, 2008 11:39 pm | Updated: 11:17 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Cut and a little bit battered, a young missionary said he was doing OK on Saturday, a day after he was attacked in what Mesa police called a possible anti-Mormon hate crime.

Assailants attack Mormon missionary in Mesa

The young man would not give his name and police did not release it. But he confirmed some of the details police had released about the attack.

The man woke up at about 4 a.m. Friday to sounds of tapping on his window, according to police.

He walked around his apartment building to investigate but found nothing. When he came back, he was confronted by a man dressed in dark clothes and wearing a ski mask, police said.

The man knocked him to the ground, began punching him and was joined by another man, also in dark clothes and ski mask, according to police.

During the pummeling, one of the attackers cursed at him and specifically referred to him as a Mormon, police said.

The man often comes and goes from his apartment, just north of Brown Road on Recker Road, dressed in the traditional white shirt, tie and name tag of Mormon missionaries, police said.

The man's apartment is also in a complex next door to the church's Granite Reef Ward building on Recker.

Don Evans, spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Arizona, said Saturday he was unaware of the attack and had never heard of anything like it in the United States.

About 500 Mormon missionaries work in the Valley and northern Arizona at any given time, he said.

Mostly, they are young men who pay their own way through two-year missions for the church.

Occasionally, missionaries have been verbally abused when going door to door, Evans said, adding: "I think that happens to every missionary occasionally in every part of the world."

After the early morning attack, police searched the area but did not find anyone. The man was treated for his injuries by emergency crews at the scene.

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