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Indiana Man Charged In Boystown Beating, Stabbing

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Darren Hayes (Credit: Chicago Police Department)

Darren Hayes (Credit: Chicago Police Department)

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UPDATED: 7/8/2011 1:03 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — A 24-year-old northwest Indiana man has been charged in the attack in which a man was stabbed on the Boystown strip last weekend.

Darren Hayes, of Hammond, was charged with three counts of aggravated battery and one count of mob action, all felonies, police said. He was expected to appear in bond court later Friday.

Tips and social networking led to Hayes’ arrest, police said.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mary Frances Bragiel reports

“Facebook was a huge help to us also, but the tips that people called in really put us in the right direction on this case,” Belmont Area police Detective Sgt. Debra DeYoung said.

A 25-year-old man was stabbed about 11:55 p.m. during a fight in the 3300 block of North Halsted Street, between Buckingham Place and Aldine Avenue.

Video of the attack has since gone viral on the Internet, prompting concerns about safety in the city’s most popular gay nightlife district.

WATCH THE RAW VIDEO:

The video shows about a dozen people brawling under a tree, and a group of eight to 10 people begin to punch and kick a young man in orange shorts. After being stabbed, the victim runs across the street and collapses against the Sherwin-Williams paint store across the street, leaving blood streaked along its gray brick wall.

The victim was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, and was in good condition following the stabbing, police said at the time.

Sgt. DeYoung said there wasn’t necessarily a motive that led to the stabbing.

“I really think that it was just two groups of people on a very narrow sidewalk, walking past each other,” DeYoung said. “Somebody said something, and it escalated from there.”

DeYoung said the case is far from closed, and more arrests could be made in the very near future.

Earlier this week, police officials and Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) led a Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) at the Inter-American Magnet School, 851 W. Waveland Ave., which drew about 600 people to crowd into a sweltering, un-air conditioned grade school cafeteria.

Tunney has said people are drawn to the area from miles around as an entertainment destination, but budget constraints have cut the number of police officers on the streets by 3,000 to 4,000. With this in mind, Tunney said an “entertainment detail” should be set up to increase police protection in Boystown.

Several area residents also weighed in, suggesting everything from nighttime bike patrols to the installation of emergency police call-boxes as seen on college campuses. But the man who shot the video of the attack had a slightly different take.

“It takes a community and when you leave here tonight, you can’t rely on these folks to do everything for you, you need to go out there and be the eyes and ears. You need to help them out just as much as they are helping you,” Lakeview resident John Cunningham said at the meeting Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, the attack and other incidents in the neighborhood – including a stabbing last month in front of the 7-11 at Halsted and Roscoe streets – have led to the creation of a Facebook group, called “Take Back Boystown.” That group is also throwing out suggestions for how to combat crime in the neighborhood, including asking dog owners to use their daily strolling time to keep an eye on things, carry their cell phones and report any suspicious activity.

But the group has also called for more draconian and likely unrealistic solutions, such as shutting down the Center on Halsted, which draws GLBT youth from across the city and which some participants blame for the fact that teens who cause trouble have come to the area. Others have suggested restricting the entire Boystown strip – including the sidewalks of Halsted Street – to those of legal drinking age.

The subject of race has also come up on the Facebook group and elsewhere among neighbors, which has drawn protests from young African-Americans who visit the area.

The group Gender JUST, which describes itself as “a grassroots organization of queer and transgender youth of color, says residents and business owners in the area “have been scapegoating queer youth of color for recent incidents of violence in the Boystown area,” and say youth have been harassed in the neighborhood.

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