The Empire star was beaten and had a noose tied round his neck by masked men in a racist and homophobic attack in the early hours of Tuesday (29Jan19).
According to editors at TMZ, the unnamed woman, who claims to be a neighbor, alleged she saw a suspicious man, who looked like a “redneck”, pacing agitatedly outside the star’s building as she took her dogs out for a walk at 12.30am – 90 minutes before Smollett was ambushed.
“He looked out of place,” she said, reported the website, adding that the man was dressed in a blue sweatshirt, a blue beanie, and jeans that were too short that exposed his “thick grey hunting socks”. The woman also said he was smoking a cigarette and had a length of blue and white rope or “clothesline” hanging out of his zip-up sweater. And she saw another man about 300ft away standing nearer the entrance and described being “creeped out” by the loitering men.
After waking up to news of the attack, the building’s concierge advised her to call the police, which TMZ confirmed she did.
Her description of the men came hours after Chicago Police Department released still images of two persons of interest and Smollett’s representative, Brandon Z. Moore, confirmed the actor’s account that he was attacked by two masked men who screamed “this is MAGA country” after calling him a “n**ger” and a “f*ggot”.
Smollett was treated at Northwestern Memorial Hospital for his injuries, which included a fractured rib, reports The Blast, before being discharged.
Cops are investigating the assault, but have yet to identify the suspects or make any arrests in the case.
“Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime,” reads a police statement issued to The Hollywood Reporter.
– Cover Media0