SALT LAKE CITY — A $2,500 warrant was issued Friday for a man whose alleged attack on a gay man in Salt Lake City went viral after video of the incident was released.
The warrant comes a day after Carlo Alazo, 22, of Tampa, Florida, informed the judge in his case that he would not be able to attend the hearing and requested a 90-day continuance.
In a phone call Thursday and a letter filed Friday with 3rd District Court, Alazo said he went on a trip on Feb. 22 "to visit my sick grandmother who lives in a foreign country and to explore my chances of attending vocational school there," and that he spent most of his savings on that trip.
Alazo stated in his letter that he is now "obligated to work as hard as possible to be able to prepare for my defense against the charges that were unjustifiably brought against me."
He then requested that his hearing be postponed 90 days while he makes arrangements for travel.
Alazo is charged with threatening to use a dangerous weapon in a fight, a class A misdemeanor, and two counts of assault, a class B misdemeanor.
On Feb. 17, Alazo was talking on his phone while walking along Main Street near 341 South. He could be heard making "derogatory and vulgar" comments about "standing by a gay guy," as well as a comment about Sal Trejo's jacket, according to charging documents.
As Alazo allegedly continued to call the group derogatory names, Trejo took out his cellphone and began recording. An eight-second clip of that recording was posted on social media and quickly went viral. It begins after Alazo apparently asked Trejo if he is gay.
After Trejo replied that he is, Alazo is seen on the video throwing a punch at Trejo.
According to charging documents, Alazo "slapped the phone out of (Trejo's) hand using an open palm, hitting Trejo's arm in the process."
Alazo then pushed a woman who was with Trejo and pulled out a butterfly knife but dropped it after pointing the blade at Trejo, the charges state. Alazo picked it up, ran to his car and drove off, according to police.
Members of the LGBTQ community and others expressed outrage about the video on social media. Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said he could not charge it as a hate crime. "We don’t have a hate crimes statute in Utah that is usable by prosecutors," he said.Comment on this story
Since then, the Utah Legislature passed a hate crimes bill, which is sitting on the governor's desk. Gov. Gary Herbert said Friday he'll sign it into law on Tuesday.
Alazo's initial appearance was scheduled for Friday and was listed in court documents as "mandatory." When he failed to show up, a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. That means if Alazo ever comes in contact with law enforcement in Utah for any reason, he can be taken into custody and booked into jail pending his next court hearing.