Football hero wanted in gay attack

JOE BELANGER

, Last Updated: 7:33 AM ET

TORONTO -- A London-based semi-pro football player hailed as a hero three months ago for rescuing two children in a fiery crash is now wanted by police for the beating of a gay man, who jumped from a moving pickup truck.

Alex Myros, 22, a former member of the London Silverbacks, is wanted for aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, forcible confinement, and two counts of uttering death threats.

The victim, Brandon Wright, 22, told The Free Press he was offered a ride by a man from a Kipps Lane strip mall to Masonville Place mall about 11:30 a.m. last Tuesday and within seconds after getting inside the pickup truck, the man started beating him with a metal object, screaming "I'm going to kill you -- you stupid faggot."

Wright said he doesn't know how many times he was hit, but he tried to fend off the blows with his arm as he desperately reached to unlock the door and open it.

He tumbled from the pickup as several witnesses looked on.

A girl standing at a bus stop called 911 while a man nearby took off his shirt and used it to try to stop the bleeding. Wright was taken by ambulance to hospital, treated and released for a broken arm, bruises and cuts to his face and head.

Wright, an event manager and modelling agent, clarified yesterday he'd previously met with the man, who'd enquired about a career in modelling. Wright advised the man "he didn't have the look." When Wright went to meet another client at the Kipps Lane strip mall, the same man he'd met earlier showed up and offered him a ride.

The incident is being investigated as a hate crime, police confirmed, and if the charges are proven in court, an application could be made to allow the judge to deliver a harsher sentence.

Wright said he told his story to the media out of fear and to alert other people to what happened.

Yesterday, Wright said he's glad a warrant has been issued for a suspect, but said he still lives in fear.

"I'm happy about the warrant, but I'll wait and see what happens now," he said. "It's not very reassuring in terms of my safety."

On June 21, the Silverbacks were returning home from a game in Indianapolis and were travelling on Interstate 69 in northern Indiana, just south of the Michigan border, when a southbound SUV, driven by the 16-year-old daughter of PGA tour player Chris Smith, blew a tire and slammed into the team's Greyhound bus.

The SUV exploded in flames and Myros and two other members of the team were hailed as heroes -- they received the Red Cross Rescuer Award -- for pulling the girl and her 12-year-old brother out of the burning SUV.

The children's mother, Beth Smith, died at the scene.

Silverbacks owner Al Lazar said Myros, who'd suffered a few injuries, was cut from the team Sept. 1, the deadline for teams to reduce their roster.

Lazar was shocked by the news.

"He's always been a good member of the team and we were certainly proud of what he did in the crash," said Lazar. "But this comes as a shock. Alex isn't that kind of person."

The Silverbacks, who play in the North American Football League, are an affiliate of the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts. Myros played several positions for the team.

Joe Belanger is The Free Press crime reporter. joe.belanger@sunmedia.ca


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