A sketch was released Thursday of a person of interest in the June 12 slaying of Steven “Eriq” Escalon, the latest example of violence targeting gay men. The man was reportedly seen getting into a cab with Escalon in front of a Castro district bar the day of his death.
In March, The San Francisco Examiner reported an uptick in crimes in which gay men are drugged at bars and then robbed at their homes by men who showed interest in hooking up. Police have said many of these crimes go unreported due to embarrassment felt by the victims.
Escalon was discovered in his Diamond Heights apartment “bound, gagged and deceased,” police said. He and the person of interest, who police have not said is a suspect at this time, were last seen together in front of a bar in the 400 block of Castro Street, and Escalon had been spotted in several other Castro bars earlier.
Police Inspector Len Broberg told The Bay Area Reporter on Wednesday that he’s concerned about crimes targeting gay men going unreported and is encouraging victims to come forward.
“Don’t be embarrassed,” he said. “Do what you can to help others from being victimized.”
District Attorney’s Office spokesman Alex Bastian, assistant district attorney, echoed that sentiment.
“Only by speaking up can we confront the problem together,” he said.
In addition to the robberies and Escalon’s killing, in August 2010 Philip DiMartino was found stabbed to death in his Lower Haight home the day after he likely attended happy hour at the Castro-area bar Badlands, according to reports at the time. It is not known where he might have gone between happy hour and home.
Escalon moved to San Francisco in 2011 and worked as a hairdresser at Metamorphosis Salon on Market Street in Hayes Valley. He grew up in the Clovis area and was part of a tight-knit color guard group in Concord.
His aunt Christina Saldivar said the family will be in The City on Saturday night to hand out fliers detailing the person of interest.
Anyone with information about the case can contact police at (415) 553-1145 or anonymously at (415) 575-4444.