A new twist in the attack of Empire star Jussie Smollett was published by TMZ, who spoke to a woman who claims she “saw a suspicious redneck with a rope” prior to the actor’s attack. The news outlet reported that the woman, who lives in Smollett’s apartment building, allegedly told police of the man “loitering” outside the building’s entrance before the attack.
The woman told TMZ that she had gone out to walk her dogs when she saw the man whom she said “looked out of place” and was hanging around the building by its entrance and the parking garage. She then described the man in detail to the outlet, including all the clothing he was wearing. She then stated she saw what “looked like a rope or a clothesline” coming out of his sweatshirt. The woman also noted there was another man in the area as well.
It was later that same morning when the now-witness spoke to a member of the concierge in the building and told him what she saw the night before. He encouraged her to contact investigators.
Smollett had returned from New York to Chicago, where he films Empire and had gone to a local Subway sandwich shop to get something to eat in the early morning hours of January 29. CNN reported Smollett was attacked by two men who called him racial and homophobic slurs, poured a chemical on him, and placed a rope around his neck. The outlet added that both attackers fled the scene after the incident.
Jussie Smollett's Neighbor Says She Saw Suspicious 'Redneck' with Rope https://t.co/DgmqUGrAgW— TMZ (@TMZ) January 31, 2019
Police have checked hours of security footage from the area but have yet to see any footage of the alleged incident. CNN reported that there was footage uncovered of Smollett standing inside the Subway sandwich shop alone.
CASE UPDATE: Hours ago #ChicagoPolice detectives located a surveillance camera that shows potential persons of interest wanted for questioning in reference to the assault & battery of Empire actor. A community alert w/ photos is being constructed and will be disseminated shortly. pic.twitter.com/hu3HaPN5h1— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) January 30, 2019
Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi issued a statement to CNN on January 30 that described the status of the investigation.
“The Streeterville neighborhood where the alleged attack occurred has a very high density of city and private surveillance cameras. As of 10 p.m. Tuesday, detectives canvassed and reviewed hundreds of hours of video and have now expanded the search area along the Chicago riverfront hoping to find a video to be able to release a public description of the offenders.”
CBS Chicago reported on January 31 there has since been a video found that shows “persons of interest” in this possible hate crime. The outlet shared a contact number for anyone with information on the attack, asking people to contact Area Central Detectives at (312) 747-8380 or reach out anonymously at www.cpdtip.com.
The Inquisitr will continue to follow this developing story.