Terrance Mannery was preparing to close the Doki Doki dessert shop in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he works Saturday night (June 2), when a few frightened men burst into the shop. Mannery, 21, quickly learned an angry white mob was chasing them as they were leaving the Utah Pride Festival.
"I noticed some men come in, and they seemed distraught and afraid, so I asked them what was going on," he said according to CNN. "They said they were being harassed and followed."
According to The Salt Lake Tribune, at least a dozen young white men were hurling homophobic slurs at the men as they followed them to the dessert shop. The homophobic crowd then surrounded the shop, making taunting gestures as they began to enter the shop. That's when Mannery stepped in. He approached the men by the entryway to prevent them from entering and keeping everyone inside the shop safe.
Here's Terrance Mannery, the ice cream shop worker who took on a mob of angry young white men who were threatening and chasing gay people this weekend during the Utah Pride Festival.https://t.co/0kJDWtBkSE pic.twitter.com/ewumWihLEX— Erin Alberty (@erinalberty) June 6, 2018
“Based on the actions the group was making, based on everything the gentlemen who came in had told me — if I allowed anyone in the store, they would try to cause harm to people,” he told The Tribune. “I couldn’t see how big the group was. I thought, ’It’s just seven to 10 people. Maybe they’ll back off.’”
In an interview with local Salt Lake City Fox 13, Mannery said he quickly told the men they would not be allowed to come in and start trouble.
"I stepped forward and was pretty much like, 'No you're not coming into the store causing trouble,'" he said.
As Mannery confronted the mob, they began punching him, trying to pull him away from the storefront. They attacked and knocked him into the shop's door hard enough that it broke the hinge of the door, CNN reported.
The shop's owner, Irie Cao, said customers inside the shop called the police but felt helpless as a stack of chairs between the doors fell over and blocked the entrance, CNN reported.
According to The Tribune, eventually a security guard from a nearby building approached the mob, and they ran away.
Michelle Turpin, a witness who was near Doki Doki, told The Tribune the mob appeared to be in their early 20s.
“They were all late teens, early 20s, clean-cut, typical blondie, blue-eyed, wholesome Utah boys,” Turpin said.
Mannery said he couldn't see how many people were punching him, but he got hit at least seven times.
The Utah Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (UGLCC) said on Tuesday it was offering $5,000 for information that could lead to arrest and prosecution, The Tribune reported. Salt Lake City Police detective Greg Wilking said there was no video evidence, and investigators are turning to the public for help.
"We have a local hero in Terrance Mannery," Tracey Dean, the UGLCC's chairwoman, said, CNN reported.