(UPDATED 6:15 PM with photos from Chicago Police) Just more than 24 hours after Empire star Jussie Smollett was attacked in Chicago, police said today they may have found “potential persons of interest” in the racially and homophobic-charged assault that is being investigated as a possible hate crime.
Chicago PD spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said on Twitter on Wednesday that detectives had “located a surveillance camera that shows potential persons of interest wanted for questioning in reference to the assault & battery of Empire actor.”
The news follows several agencies scouring the city now the throes of the Polar Vortex for video footage of the attack, which occurred in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Police has been looking for a pair of suspects.
Local law enforcement tells Deadline “this looks like a pretty good lead.”
Later this evening Guglielmi tweeted out photos of the aforementioned “people of interest who were in area of the alleged assault & battery of Empire cast member.” He adds, “While video does not capture an encounter, detectives are taking this development seriously & wish to question individuals as more cameras are being reviewed.”
20th Century Fox shut down production on the Chicago-set Empire among other Windy City productions because of the record cold temperatures of the Polar Vortex sweeping through the Midwest. The shutdown occurs as cast, creators and producers are still trying to process the attack on Smollett, who plays Jamal Lyon.
According to reports, the actor was exiting a Subway restaurant in the 300 block of East Lower Water Street early Tuesday morning when two suspects began yelling racial and homophobic slurs towards him. They then proceeded to attack Smollett, punching him before pouring an unknown chemical substance over him. At some point during the attack, one of the suspects wrapped a rope around Smollett’s neck. The attackers then fled the scene.
Smollett eventually drove himself to Northwestern Hospital and was in good condition later Tuesday, police said.
As Deadline reported, depending on his recovery and weather conditions, Smollett could be back filming Empire by early next week.
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