NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A suspect has been arrested and charged in an alleged anti-gay bias attack on a couple in Chelsea last month.
Alfonso Lanier, 23, was charged Tuesday with aggravated harassment and assault as a hate crime, police said.
Police Tuesday were still looking for several more suspects. They released sketches of two of the suspects shortly after the attack.
The attack happened early on the morning of Wednesday, Aug. 14, in the area of West 25th Street and Ninth Avenue, shortly after Peter Notman and Michael Felenchak left the Chelsea Bowtie Cinemas.
The two were walking down the street when two other men approached them yelling anti-gay slurs and then punched and kicked the victims repeatedly, police said. That’s when three or four more men joined in on the attack, police said.
“It was six of them against the two of us,” Notman said. “Typical of the cowards they are.”
Felenchak, 27, and Notman, 53, were able to use their cell phones to call police. The suspects fled on 9 Avenue in the direction of West 25 Street after the attack, police said.
The two were taken to Beth Israel Hospital and treated for their injuries.
“I was hit with brass knuckles down the side of my face,” Notman said. “I had contusions, had to have an MRI and Michael received several stitches in his mouth where they punched us.”
Felenchak ended up requiring a total of seven stitches.
“I was shocked this happened on the street I call home,” Notman said. “Unbelievable.”
The arrests Tuesday also came the same day a man was charged with murder as a hate crime in Queens. Steven Torres, 22, of the Bronx, was charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime and criminal possession of a weapon in connection with the death of 69-year-old Ever Orozco under the elevated 7 train tracks at Elmhurst and Roosevelt avenues.
Police said Torres confessed after claiming the victim was blowing kisses and making sexual advances. But authorities said there is no evidence to support those claims, CBS 2 reported.
Ever’s wife said her husband had dropped her off for a doctor’s appointment a few minutes before the fatal attack.
A rash of anti-gay attacks was plaguing the city only a few months ago. In the severest incident, Mark Carson, 32, was shot and killed on May 18 by a man who first called him and his partner “f***ots” and asked if they were “gay wrestlers,” police said.
Couples were attacked in at least two other incidents in May.
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.
And 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.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visit the Crime Stoppers website at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
The search continued for more suspects Tuesday.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
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