Three Men Hurt in More Anti-Gay Attacks, Days After Village Murder
MANHATTAN — Hours after advocates rallied Monday night to decry the murder of Mark Carson and to call for an end to homophobic violence, three men were injured in two separate anti-gay hate attacks, cops said.
The first attack occurred about 10:30 p.m. Monday night when a former Philadelphia club promoter who was living in a homeless shelter was attacked by a drinking buddy also living in the shelter, cops said.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said that Gornell Roman, 39, attacked former club impresario Dan Contarino as the two walked back to the Bowery Mission after the two shared a pitcher of sangria, several shots and beer.
Kelly said that at one point the two men were drinking in the well-known East Village gay bar the Boiler Room.
"They started walking back to the Bowery Mission and suddenly the assailant just snapped," police commissioner Raymond Kelly said at an afternoon press conference.
Police tried to get details from Contarino but he slipped in and out of consciousness. It wasn't until Tuesday that they were able to identify the suspect.
The other victims, Steven Dixon, 42, and Michael Coleman, 41, were walking down Broadway between Prince and Houston streets about 5:20 a.m. when two men hurled anti-gay slurs at them, according to the NYPD.
The two men confronted their antagonizers, who retaliated by punching them, police said.
The two men suffered minor injuries, cops said.
Fabian Ortiz, 32, and Pedro Jimenez, 23, were arrested and then arraigned early Wednesday morning on charges of assault as a hate crime, police said.
Assistant District Attorney Lauren Manso read the complaint against both men at their arraignment, saying Ortiz called the victim a "gay f-g" in Spanish as he put his arm around him.
Lawyers for the alleged SoHo attackers discounted prosecutors' claims, saying one of the victims was much taller than the two alleged attackers.
Ortiz's lawyer said his client originally hails from Mexico and works as a dishwasher in a deli. He's also the father of a 3-year-old child, his lawyer said. Jimenez lives with his brother in Brooklyn and works as a full-time restaurant cook in Manhattan, his lawyer said.
Tuesday morning's attack came days after Carson, 32, of Harlem, was shot to death at the corner of West Eighth Street and Sixth Avenue Saturday night.
Elliot Morales, 33, of the Lower East Side, was arrested in connection to Carson's murder and ordered held without bail.
At the press conference with the mayor, Kelly said that there have been 29 anti-gay hate crimes so far this year, more than double for the same period last year.
He said typically these types of crimes were under-reported and said he could not account for the surge this year.
"These types of crimes are outrageous," he said. "If they do occur, we will aggressively investigate them and bring the culprits to justice."
Mayor Michael Bloomberg expressed regret over the uptick of hate crimes.
"This is not a good day for New York. This is a sad day. It's a shame we have to get together to talk about things that should not occur."
In the wake of the attacks, the NYPD pledged to increase police presence in the affected neighborhoods.
“We are shocked and angry to learn that [Tuesday morning], just hours after marching with thousands of people through Greenwich Village to stand up against hate crimes, at least two New Yorkers were attacked on the streets of Manhattan simply because they were perceived to be gay," the statement said.
"We will not retreat in fear. New Yorkers are galvanized to take action and determined to stand up in the face of hatred."
with reporting by Jefferson Siegel
Correction: In an earlier version of this story, police identified the suspect in the East Village stabbing as Roman Gornell. Police later identified him as Gornell Roman.