HuffPost reported Monday that a customer smashed the window of the historic LGBTQ bar the Stonewall Inn, damaging the bar’s iconic sign.
According to the New York City Police Department, 19-year-old William Gomez smashed the establishment’s window with a baseball bat after arguing with a bouncer on early Saturday morning. Gomez was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, criminal mischief, and reckless endangerment.
The bouncer involved in the altercation, Salvador Bobadilla, claimed he was escorting an unnamed customer out of the bar when Gomez confronted him and became violent. The customer was reportedly half-naked at the time. Bobadilla told the New York Daily News, “I told him, ‘You have to leave.’ I couldn’t hold him because he was naked and he kept slipping away.”
Gomez then stepped in to allegedly defend the customer, who turned out to be his friend, and attacked the bouncer. “Suddenly he was trying to fight me. He was choking me. I had to defend myself,” Bobadilla said. Bobadilla claims he would have gotten seriously injured if it were not for his martial arts skills, adding, “It could have ended badly for me. Luckily, they’re two little punks.”
After leaving the bar, Gomez returned shortly afterwards with a baseball bat and and proceeded to smash the bar’s iconic window, punching holes into the glass and damaging the red neon sign. Gomez’s outburst caused $6,800 worth of damages. Luckily, the window and sign were hastily repaired before the bar officially opened later that same day.
Gomez’s mother came to his defense, telling reporters that her son is generally a quiet boy and claimed that the bouncer was “messing with one of his co-workers” and had punched Gomez in the face before he had returned to smash the bar’s window with a baseball bat. His mother also told the New York Daily News that her son isn’t gay and is expecting a child with his girlfriend.
Police records indicate that Gomez was previously charged with assault in 2017 and had been arrested several other times.
The Stonewall Inn, which was recently declared a national monument in 2016, is the site of the historic Stonewall Riots, which occurred on June 28, 1969, lasting for six days. The riots are now widely considered the birth of the LGBTQ rights movement in the United States.
Gomez is not being charged with a hate crime.