Cops search for persons of interest in Chicago

Corrections & clarifications: This story has been edited since its original publication.

“Empire” star Jussie Smollett, who was treated at a Chicago hospital after being attacked early Tuesday, plans to perform a previously scheduled concert in Los Angeles over the weekend.

A person familiar with the situation but not authorized to speak publicly about it confirmed Smollett’s performance plans to USA TODAY.

The actor, 35, left Northwestern Memorial Hospital Tuesday after being treated in the emergency room for cuts on his face and neck. Smollett’s representative, Pamela Sharp, told USA TODAY that he was “recovering well.”

Chicago Police Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi told USA TODAY that detectives made physical contact with Smollett outside of the ER Tuesday and were again in contact with him on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday Chicago Police released several images of “potential persons of interest” in what Guglielmi calls a “possible hate crime.”

“Photos of people of interest who were in area of the alleged assault & battery of Empire cast member,” Guglielmi tweeted, along with images of two individuals wearing black. “While video does not capture an encounter, detectives are taking this development seriously & wish to question individuals as more cameras are being reviewed.”

Related: ‘Empire’ co-star Taraji P. Henson decries Jussie Smollett attack: ‘Hate will not win’

Officers have combed through “hundreds of hours of video” from businesses and hotels in the heavily monitored area, Guglielmi said. But he said they still need to collect and view more. 

Guglielmi previously told USA TODAY that Smollett was approached in the early hours of Tuesday morning by two people who “gained his attention by yelling out racial and homophobic slurs towards him,” adding that they punched him in the face, poured a chemical on him and wrapped a rope around his neck. 

Sgt. Cindy Guerra confirmed to USA TODAY that Smollett said in a follow-up interview that his alleged attackers yelled, “This is MAGA country.” 

Guglielmi said that Smollett, who had returned to Chicago one day earlier for work, was fully cooperating with investigators and helping them establish a timeline of the assault.

“We ask anyone with information about this incident to contact Area Central Detectives at 312-747-8382 or report it anonymously to www.cpdtip.com,” police said. 

Fox told USA TODAY that filming for “Empire” would resume Thursday after the network suspended production over record cold temperatures Wednesday. It’s unclear whether the attack on Smollett will cause further delay.

Contributing: Carly Mallenbaum

Related: ‘Empire’ star Jussie Smollett: Attackers yelled, ‘This is MAGA country’ during beating

 

 

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