Thomas Castellani in photos posted to his Gofundme page
A gay man who was hospitalized after an incident that occurred when he left the Cafe bar in San Francisco’s Castro district Thursday said he doesn’t know what happened.
Thomas Castellani, 45, suffered injuries to his face shortly after he left the Cafe, where he’d been singing karaoke “shortly after midnight.”
Whatever occurred “happened so fast, I was just knocked unconscious,” Castellani, who’s a bouncer at the Castro’s Badlands bar, told the Bay Area Reporter. He was released from the hospital Friday.
He said, “I’ve been assaulted at work before,” but “I’m 6 foot 6. I’m not the type of guy you would normally walk up to and attack.”
Castellani also said he’d only had a two drinks before he left the bar.
“I try not to drink while I’m doing karaoke. I’m trying to build my confidence,” he said.
Castellani’s looking for people who witnessed the incident, and he’s planned to meet with police Tuesday afternoon so a report could be filed.
In a Gofundme fundraising pitch for Castellani, Julia DePetrillo, his sister, said he’d been “gay bashed and left bleeding” as he left work in San Francisco’s Castro district early Thursday morning.
Castellani “had to have emergency surgery to basically re-attach his fractured jaw to his skull as well as other unpleasant fractured and broken details,” DePetrillo wrote. As of Tuesday afternoon, $4,350 had been raised toward a $5,000 goal.
[Update August 17]: Officer Carlos Manfredi, a police spokesman, said Wednesday that the incident is not being investigated as a hate crime.
“No witnesses came forward and said the person who hit him made a derogatory statement,” Manfredi said.
A witness reported that Castellani was “struck with his own helmet,” he said.
No suspect description was available, but the incident occurred near Castro and 17th streets, which is close to the Café and Jane Warner Plaza, and police are looking for video surveillance footage that may have captured the incident.
Anyone with information in the cases may call the SFPD anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444. People may also text a tip to TIP411. Type SFPD in the subject line. The incident number is 160 662 576 [End update].
Depetrillo included a post to Castellani’s Facebook page that said, “You can bash my face but you will not get my spirit, you can not take the love that has been given to me from all of you. I am unafraid I only feel blessings. I will heal and I will still be beautiful. You have done nothing but brought bad karma and the promise of a long stay in hell. Your hatred and evil have only wrapped me in so much love from all around me, you have only increased my spiritual wealth.”
The incident was first covered by Hoodline.
Depetrillo said on the Gofundme site that she started the fundraising effort because Castellani “would never ask for help from anyone so here I am, asking for him.”
“He had big plans for this year and has padded his work schedule for the past year to afford them and now is missing a ton of work because of someone’s violent hatred of him being his beautiful queer self,” she said.
Anyone who may have witnessed what occurred to Castellani may contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.