Police search for persons of interest in alleged attack against Jussie Smollett

Probe ongoing in alleged attack on actor

Last Updated Jan 30, 2019 10:14 PM EST

Police in Chicago said Wednesday they are looking for two persons of interest in the possible hate crime attack against actor Jussie Smollett. The lead comes after detectives spent hours screening surveillance tapes for clues.

Police sources said it is unclear what may have transpired but 12 detectives on the case are trying to identify the individuals picked up by the cameras and want to question them. Police released images of the individuals Wednesday night.

A gay cast member of the Fox hit show "Empire," the actor told police two white men shouting racial epithets and gay slurs beat him up, doused him with an unknown chemical and tied a rope around his neck after he left a Subway restaurant around 2 a.m. The rope was still on his neck when the police first arrived 45 minutes after being alerted.

Sources said the video that identifies the persons of interest also shows Smollett with a rope around his neck. Smollett told police the attackers also allegedly yelled, "this is MAGA country," a reference to President Trump's campaign slogan.

His account prompted a wave of support from the worlds of entertainment and politics. Police said Smollett has been cooperative and took them on a walk-through of the area in question.

30-jan-19-community-alert-pic-1-300-block-of-lower-east-north-water.png
Chicago detectives are seeking to identify and interview the two individuals in this surveillance footage, police said Jan. 30, 2019.  Chicago Police Dept.
  • Dean Reynolds

    Dean Reynolds is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Chicago.