NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A gunman used anti-gay slurs before he shot and killed a man in fashionable Greenwich Village early Saturday, police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.
As 1010 WINS’ Gary Baumgarten reported, police were dispatched to the corner of 8th Street and Sixth Avenue just after midnight Saturday. They found the victim — Marc Carson, 32, of Harlem — on the ground with a gunshot wound to the head, police said.
Elliot Morales, 33, was charged with Second Degree Murder As A Hate Crime, as well as Criminal Possession Of A Weapon on Saturday.
Morales had been in custody but refused to give his name. He was eventually identified by police using facial recognition technology.
“This fully looks to be a hate crime; a bias crime,” Commissioner Kelly said. “There were no words that would aggravate the situation that were spoken by the victims. They did not know the confronter. There was no previous relationship.”
Kelly said the gunman first urinated on the street outside a bar, then walked into the bar. The man proceeded to make anti-gay remarks to the bartender, the commissioner said.
“He then says to both the bartender and the manager that if you do call the police, I’ll shoot you, and he opens up what is a gray hoodie, and shows what appears to be a shoulder holster carrying this revolver,” Kelly said.
Kelly then said the gunman, along with two others, came up to Carson and his companion outside.
“The three men were walking south, and one of them stopped and said to the two individuals walking north, ‘Look at these f***ots. What are you, gay wrestlers?’” Kelly said.
After that, Morales shot Carson in the face. He was pronounced dead at Beth Israel Hospital.
The busy and well-traveled intersection of 8th Street, Sixth Avenue and Greenwich Avenue is just a few blocks from Washington Square Park.
Shortly after the incident, NYPD Officer Henry Huot of the Patrol Bureau Manhattan South Impact Post responded to a police radio transmission of a man shot and saw the suspect at 3rd and MacDougal streets on the edge of the NYU campus. The officer went to question the man, but he ran off, police said.
Huot chased the suspect and arrested him, police said. Huot recovered a silver Taurus .38-caliber, six-shot revolver.
Witnesses described a frightening scene.
“I heard like a firecracker, it was one crisp, it was very noticeable and I was like ‘oh my god’, it sounded like a gunshot,” Monalisa Cloviaanni told CBS 2′s Steve Langford.
The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force and the Manhattan South Homicide Squad have been investigating. No charges had been filed as of late Saturday afternoon.
The incident comes on the heels of a series of bias attacks on gay men – although this is the first that left a man dead.
Two of those attacks occurred in Midtown; one of them took place on Christopher Street — not far from the Saturday morning incident.
In the first incident on May 5, Nick Porto and his partner, Kevin Atkins, were beaten near Madison Square Garden after a group of men wearing Knicks shirts called them anti-gay slurs.
In the second early on May 10, two men tried to get into an after-hours billiards hall on West 32nd Street but were not let in, police said. They were then approached by a group of approximately five others who proceeded to shout anti-gay slurs and beat the men, police said.
Multiple lawmakers have condemned the latest deadly shooting in the strongest terms.
“I am horrified to learn that last night, a gay man was murdered in my district after being chased out of a Greenwich Village restaurant and assailed by homophobic slurs,” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. “I stand with all New Yorkers in condemning this attack.”
Quinn said hate crimes will not be tolerated in New York City.
“There was a time in New York City when hate crimes were a common occurrence. There was a time in New York City when two people of the same gender could not walk down the street arm-in-arm without fear of violence and harassment. We refuse to go back to that time,” she said. “This kind of shocking and senseless violence, so deeply rooted in hate, has no place in a City whose greatest strength will always be its diversity.”
New York State Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) also condemned the attack – and the others before it.
“I am outraged by the recent wave of anti-LGBT violence in our City and it is shocking and extremely distressing that a man was shot to death just this morning apparently because he was gay. Nobody anywhere should have to live with fear of harm because of his or her sexual orientation,” he said. “It is particularly upsetting that recent anti-LGBT incidents have occurred in neighborhoods in my district on the West Side of Manhattan, home to many members of our community.
State Assemblywoman Deborah Glick said New York and bigotry will not go together.
“New York has seen a shocking increase in hate crimes in recent weeks. We must stand together as one City and declare that New York is not open for bigotry. It is crucial that every instance of senseless violence, against anyone, be met with swift and strong justice,” she said. “My heart goes out to the friends and family of this young man whose life was senselessly taken by a callous bigot.”
Kelly said in all, there have been 22 bias attacks in New York City this year, compared with 13 at this time last year.
The New York City Anti-Violence Project is working with Quinn and the NYPD to investigate what happened. The group will gather next Friday night for a Community Safety Night.
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