Assistant Austin Police Chief Ely Reyes

Four men are in custody in Austin and have been charged with aggravated assault in connection with the Jan. 19 attack on gay couple Spencer Deehring and Tristan Perry outside Austin gay bar Rain.

Quinn O’Connor, Miguel Macias and Kolby Monell were arrested Tuesday, Feb. 12. Frank Macias was arrested on Monday. They are being held oat the Travis County Jail n $300,000 bond each.

At a press conference, Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore said her office will be pursuing hate crime charges, which would upgrade the charges from second degree felonies to first degree felonies  and enhance penalties. She said that even though adding the hate crime counts requires separately proving those charges, her office is prepared to do that.

Asked about the LGBT community in Austin taking safety into their own hands, Assistant Police Chief Ely Reyes said, “The community is our eyes and ears out there.” About 60 people have joined a group calling itself the Rainbow Patrol and are walking the downtown streets around the bars.

Reyes said he had spoken to Deehring and Perry, telling them that Austin police took their case very seriously and that hate crimes in the city will not be tolerated.

Also attending the press conference was the detective who lead the investigation and the president of the Lesbian and Gay Peace Officers Association. [Note: We need one of those in Dallas]

On Facebook, Deehring said the couple would like some privacy over the next few weeks but they are recovering. “The brain heals slowly, and we’re beginning to understand that after many hospital visits and scans,” he wrote.

— David Taffet