Jussie Smollett case: Persons of interest identified in alleged attack on "Empire" actor

By Erin Donaghue

/ CBS News

Jussie Smollett: "I will only stand for love"

Police have identified two persons of interest in their investigation into an alleged racial and homophobic attack against "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett in Chicago last month. Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in an email the persons of interest were identified using "advance technology, interviews with the victim and witnesses and transportation records."

He didn't release the names of the persons of interest and it wasn't clear whether they were the same two people seen walking in a surveillance image police earlier released.

Guglielmi tweeted that the persons of interest are not considered suspects, but were believed to be in the area of the alleged Jan. 29 attack and are being questioned by detectives.

Smollett, who is gay, has said he was walking to a Subway restaurant around 2 a.m. Jan. 29 when he was attacked by two men who yelled racial and homophobic slurs, hung a rope around his neck and poured bleach on him. In his first interview about the incident, Smollett gave a detailed account of the attack on Good Morning America Thursday, saying the first attacker was masked and he only glimpsed the second attacker as he ran away. He said he fought back and later gave police a description as best as he was able.

As days passed with no video of the incident or suspects emerging, questions have swirled online and in the media about Smollett's account. On GMA, Smollett blasted those who have doubted him, insisting his story has remained consistent.

"I have to acknowledge the lies, and the hate. And it feels like if I had said it was a Muslim, or a Mexican, or someone black, I feel like the doubters would have supported me much more. A lot more," Smollett told GMA.

Smollett said the attack has left him "forever changed."

Photos of people of interest who were in area of the alleged assault & battery of Empire cast member. While video does not capture an encounter, detectives are taking this development seriously & wish to question individuals as more cameras are being reviewed pic.twitter.com/xJDDygtocr

— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) January 31, 2019

"I will never be the man that this did not happen to," Smollett said.

Smollett told GMA he believes the two men seen in the surveillance video are his attackers. He grew emotional when asked how he would heal if the men are never found.

"I understand how difficult it will be to find them but we gotta," Smollett said. "I still want to believe with everything that has happened, that there's something called justice."

Chicago police have said Smollett has been cooperative and they consider him to be a victim in the case.

Jussie Smollett breaks silence on alleged attack

First published on February 14, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Erin Donaghue

Erin Donaghue covers crime for CBSNews.com's Crimesider.

Persons of interest ID'd in alleged attack on "Empire" actor

The "Empire" actor gives a detailed account to "Good Morning America," says attack left him "forever changed"

updated 1M ago

Shutdown watch: Congress to vote on funding bill

Lawmakers are aiming to vote late Thursday in the hopes of averting another government shutdown

updated 11M ago

Virgin founder Richard Branson says the rich may need "heavy taxes"

If wealthy can't make capitalism work for more people, "we deserve to have very heavy taxes," philanthropist says

updated 20M ago

Amazon cancels New York City headquarters

E-commerce giant had faced fierce opposition for a planned New York location projected to cost $3 billion in incentives

updated 4M ago

Is "slow love" the key to a lasting relationship?

Biological anthropologist Helen Fisher says there's been a major change in how we think about relationships

updated 38M ago

Shutdown watch: Congress to vote on funding bill

Lawmakers are aiming to vote late Thursday in the hopes of averting another government shutdown

updated 11M ago

Amazon cancels New York City headquarters

E-commerce giant had faced fierce opposition for a planned New York location projected to cost $3 billion in incentives

updated 4M ago

John Dingell honored in Washington

A funeral for Dingell was held in Washington after the longest-serving member of Congress was memorialized back home in Michigan

updated 0M ago

Pence blasts European allies for sidestepping sanctions on Iran

"The time has come for our European partners to stand with us, stand with the Iranian people, stand with our allies and friends in the region"

1H ago

Senate to vote on William Barr, Trump's AG pick

Democrats have raised concerns that he may limit the scope of Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in U.S. elections

updated 44M ago

Human foot found on Canadian coastline – the 15th since 2007

Authorities are seeking help identifying a foot found inside a Nike sneaker

updated 29M ago

Pompeo refuses to say if he believes CIA on Khashoggi killing

Dismissing the question as "ridiculous," Pompeo says U.S. will hold "each individual accountable" for the murder, but current "fact sets" don't implicate crown prince

4H ago

Philippine journalist posts bail, calls for "outrage" over libel arrest

"What we're seeing is death by a thousand cuts of our democracy," Rappler CEO and editor Maria Ressa says after release

9H ago

Omar, Venezuela envoy clash on U.S. meddling in Latin America

Elliott Abrams, the State Department's special representative to Venezuela, was involved in controversial foreign policy decisions during the Cold War

1H ago

House passes bill to limit U.S. involvement in Yemen

The Trump administration has provided military assistance to the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen

18H ago

Alfonso Cuarón on the personal trauma he channeled into "Roma"

The black and white foreign film with a largely unknown cast has become an unlikely Oscar front-runner.

updated 7M ago

Ryan Adams accused of emotional abuse, sexual misconduct

In one allegation, a 20-year-old female musician said Ryan Adams, 44, had inappropriate conversations with her while she was 15 and 16

12H ago

These A-listers are the most stylish stars, according to People

Ahead of the Academy Awards, People has released its list that also includes Emma Stone, Nicole Kidman, Donald Glover

18H ago

Disney reveals first look at "Frozen 2"

Fans get their first look at the highly-anticipated "Frozen 2," and it appears the cast is far from where they started

21H ago

3 women share role of Cher on Broadway. They call it "Cherapy."

The lead role is played by three actresses who represent the different stages of Cher's life

Feb 13

Dating apps expose lovebirds to scams and hackers

Mobile apps have transformed the dating experience but they can also expose sensitive information to fraudsters

1H ago

Solar jobs are on the decline — the industry blames Trump

U.S. tariffs have cast a shadow on what until recently had been one of the country's hottest job sectors

2H ago

California governor: Consumers should get paid a "digital dividend"

The idea is sparking debate about a tax on tech companies or a refund to customers who share their data with Facebook and others

3H ago

Hackers are stealing medical records – and selling them on the dark web

How easy is it for criminals to get hold of these patient files? It only took a few seconds

4H ago

Atmospheric River, record snow: Extreme weather slams West Coast

The extreme weather is due to a powerful Pacific Ocean jet stream pattern: Part of the polar jet stream is angled straight south along the U.S. West Coast from Alaska

11H ago

Hackers are stealing medical records – and selling them on the dark web

How easy is it for criminals to get hold of these patient files? It only took a few seconds

4H ago

CDC warns about potentially contaminated raw milk

A dangerous drug-resistant bacteria is connected the consumption of raw milk​ in 19 states

18H ago

Eating these kinds of foods may cut your life short

New research suggests certain foods high in salt, sugar and other additives may increase the risk of early death

19H ago

Depression during and after pregnancy can be prevented, panel says

Up to 1 in 7 women experience what's called perinatal depression, and a task force has issued new recommendations to help prevent it

Feb 13

Drugmaker behind ibuprofen recall has history of FDA violations

Federal watchdog previously found significant violations of manufacturing rules by Tris Pharma

1H ago

Virgin founder Richard Branson says the rich may need "heavy taxes"

If wealthy can't make capitalism work for more people, "we deserve to have very heavy taxes," philanthropist says

updated 20M ago

Amazon cancels New York City headquarters

E-commerce giant had faced fierce opposition for a planned New York location projected to cost $3 billion in incentives

updated 4M ago

Romance scams break hearts and bust bank accounts

"I was just ready to be in love" — music to the ears of a swindler looking to con someone out of her cash

1H ago

Retail sales drop by the most in 9 years

Americans spent less on food and dining, hobbies and ecommerce, which some economists say forecasts a slowdown

1H ago

Solar jobs are on the decline — the industry blames Trump

U.S. tariffs have cast a shadow on what until recently had been one of the country's hottest job sectors

2H ago

Apple lawyer who oversaw insider trading policy charged with insider trading

Former attorney at the tech giant allegedly drew on non-public earnings information to cash in

19H ago

Gunman kills wife at dentist's office, gets shot by bystander

Armed bystander shoots gunman, detains him, waits for police to arrive, police say

22H ago

White supremacist gang in Arkansas accused of brutal tactics

Group called "reprehensible in its admiration for Nazi imagery and racist views, but even more alarming are the crimes and violence perpetrated by these defendants"

19H ago

Ohio State student and her kidnapper killed in police chase

Female student from Ohio State University campus, man suspected of abducting her both die after police chase, shooting

19H ago

One year after Parkland shooting, survivors continue push for change

Survivor Lauren Hogg tells CBSN activism "gives me a reason to get up every single morning"

23H ago  Original Article