Suspect Charged With Assault & Aggravated Harassment, Both As Hate Crimes

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A man has been arrested in connection with an alleged anti-gay attack in the East Village.

Gornell Roman turned himself in at a police precinct Tuesday night in the Bronx, CBS 2 reported. He was charged Wednesday with assault and aggravated harassment, both as hate crimes, police said.

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He is accused of yelling an anti-gay remark and attacking Dan Contarino near a homeless shelter at East 4th Street and Avenue D on Monday night.

“He turned himself into the 41st Precinct. He has made statements implicating himself and he’s being charged with assault as a hate crime, assault in the second degree – a felony,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters including WCBS 880’s Jim Smith. “Words were exchanged, anti-gay remarks were made and the individual was assaulted.”

With a black eye, bruised forehead and several other injuries, Contarino told CBS 2 in an interview Tuesday that he feels lucky to be alive.

Kelly said Contarino and Roman both lived at the Bowery Mission, and had known each other about a month. They’d had drinks and pizza in the area earlier that night, and as they were returning, Contarino allegedly told Roman he was gay, Kelly said.

Roman at first talked about how he had friends and family who are gay, but then allegedly snapped and attacked him.

The attack on Contarino was one of two on gay New Yorkers within a period of 24 hours.

The second incident happened around 5:20 a.m. Tuesday in SoHo. Police said a couple, ages 41 and 42, were walking on Broadway near Prince Street when two men began yelling anti-gay slurs.

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A physical altercation ensued and one of the victims suffered an eye injury, police said.

In that incident. Fabian Ortiz, 32, and Pedro Jiminez, 23, were arrested and later charged with third-degree assault as a hate crime, police said.

Both attacks came just hours after thousands of people marched against the killing of Mark Carson, an openly gay man, in Greenwich Village.

Carson was killed Saturday at Sixth Avenue and West 8th Street.

Police said Elliot Morales, 33, followed and taunted Carson as he walked down the street with a companion before shooting him in the face. Morales was charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime and criminal possession of a weapon.

Authorities said there has been a spate of anti-gay attacks just this past month. So far this year, police said there has been a rise in bias-related crimes overall, jumping from 13 to 22 during the same period last year.

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