Twitter Sleuths Help Nab Suspects in Alleged Hate Crime

Twitter Sleuths Help Nab Suspects in Alleged Hate Crime
Courtesy Philadelphia Police Department

09/25/2014 AT 08:00 PM EDT

Earlier this month, the Philadelphia Police Department released a video and asked the public to help identify a group of people who were accused of brutally attacking a gay couple.

Immediately, the Twitterverse went to work. Greg Bennett, who appears on The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Tweeted a group photo of the group. Another Twitter user identified the restaurant where the photo was taken and used check-in statuses to identify some of the people.

"Twitter is a communication tool that helped us," police spokeswoman Tanya Little tells PEOPLE. "Three people are charged. Now, it'll be sorted in the court system."

Philip Williams, 24, Kathryn Knott, 24, and Kevin Harrigan, 26, were each charged with aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.



The local CBS station reported that Williams's attorney Fortunato Perri Jr. says the fight was not about anyone's sexual orientation and that one of the victims punched a woman in the face. "This was a mutual confrontation between individuals out on the street."

Knott's attorney Louis Busico says his client, who is the daughter of Chalfont Borough Police Chief Karl Knott, wouldn't hurt anyone based on sexual orientation. "I represent a young woman who's never been in trouble," he told reporters. "She's from a wonderful family. She has a law enforcement background within her family. She played no role in this."

But her alleged Twitter account shows another side of Knott, including her willingness to ask her father for help. On March 21, 2012, she allegedly Tweeted: "A guy ran me off the road, called my dad ran his license, and got him ticket #sorrynotsorry#lovemydad."

For now, the three suspects were released on bail. Knott's bond was set at $50,000 and the other two suspects were set at $75,000 each.

Meanwhile, the District Attorney's office released a statement thanking everyone involved in helping solve the case.

"I would like to thank the police for their thorough investigation and the public for the outpouring of information and tips in this case," said District Attorney Seth Williams. "This vicious attack shocked the entire country. An assault on people because of their sexual orientation has no place in Philadelphia."

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