CHICAGO (CNN) — Chicago police have released photos of people they’d like to talk to in the case involving “Empire” star Jussie Smollett, who was the victim of what police are investigating as a possible hate crime.
Investigators have located a surveillance camera that shows people who are now wanted for questioning, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement on Twitter. Detectives had not yet found still images or video of the actual incident as of late Tuesday evening, police told CNN.
Smollett said he was attacked in the early morning hours on Tuesday in a Chicago neighborhood known as Streeterville by two people who were “yelling out racial and homophobic slurs” and “poured an unknown chemical substance on the victim,” according to police.
Smollett reported that one of his attackers also put a rope around his neck, police said. Smollett told police both attackers fled the scene.
Smollett took himself to Northwestern Hospital and was in “good condition” in the hours following, authorities said.
CNN’s Don Lemon spoke to Smollett and a mutual friend who was at the hospital with the actor. Smollett confirmed the incident took place.
He was shaken and angry that an attack like this could happen. Smollett told CNN he fought back at the attackers.
“Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime,” police said in a statement Tuesday.
Investigators are testing the chemical Smollett said he was doused with and have yet to confirm the nature of the substance. Some reports said the substance was bleach.
As of late Tuesday, detectives had canvassed and reviewed hundreds of hours of video and expanded the search area along the Chicago riverfront hoping to find video to be able to release a public description of the offenders.
A dozen police detectives, with the assistance of the FBI, are working the case, the spokesperson said.
Smollett has starred on Fox’s “Empire” since 2015. He plays Jamal, a successful singer in the musical Lyon family. Like his character, Smollett identifies as gay.
“Empire” creator Lee Daniels Face Timed with Smollett and published a photo on Twitter of the actor’s cut and bruised face. He later deleted the image.
In the aftermath of Smollett’s assault, his friends, colleagues and peers showed an outpouring of support for the actor, who is an active advocate for the LGBTQ community.
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