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SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake police are investigating a stabbing and a fight that left eight people injured in popular downtown entertainment areas early Sunday, plus a possible hate crime that happened about the same time a couple of blocks away.
The first incident was reported about 12:45 a.m. when officers who were already in the area were told of a fight in the 100 South block of Pierpont Avenue.
"Officers arrived and located a man and a woman bleeding. Initially, officers and paramedics could not determine what caused the injuries. Witnesses on scene provided limited and conflicting information about whether there had been a shooting or a stabbing," according to police.
An officer had to apply a tourniquet to one of the victims, police said. Investigators learned that a fight had broken out inside Club Echo, 134 Pierpont Ave. Detectives determined the victims were stabbed and there was no shooting.
A 22-year-old man was stabbed in the chest and taken to a local hospital in critical condition, according to police. The man's condition was later upgraded.
A 20-year-old man who was also stabbed but left the area before police arrived, later showed up at a local hospital. He was also initially listed in critical condition, according to police.
A woman, 27, was taken to a local hospital with undisclosed injuries not considered to be life-threatening. Two other people were treated at the scene for minor injuries, according to police. No arrests had been made as of Monday.
While officers were investigating that incident, a vehicle drove up at about 1:55 a.m. and the occupants reported a separate fight that broke out while people were leaving other nearby nightclubs, resulting in three more victims, according to police. The circumstances surrounding that fight were not immediately known. All of the injuries were not life-threatening, police said.
About 35 minutes later, at approximately 2:30 a.m., police responded to a report of another assault near 150 W. 600 South.
"Because hate speech was used during the assault, this case is being investigated as a potential hate crime," Salt Lake police said in a statement.
Police say three friends who had been at a Pride event came across a man and woman fighting. One of the three friends attempted to intervene, which caused the man involved in the fight to turn his attention to him.
"The suspect then started yelling hate speech and punched the man who tried to help. The victim's two friends tried to stop the assault, but they too were punched. The suspect continued to use homophobic hate speech toward all three victims," the statement said.
Two of the victims suffered minor injuries. The third suffered a head injury and was treated at the scene by paramedics. Police say the man and the three victims "had met earlier at a prior event" on Saturday. Investigators were still searching Monday for the man who attacked the trio while using hate speech.