NEW YORK CITY — The alleged gay-bashing suspect who pummeled his drinking buddy in the East Village Monday night turned himself in and has been charged with assault as a hate crime, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said at a press conference Wednesday.
Gornell Roman, 39, was arrested at the 41st Precinct in the Bronx, following his violent outburst against Dan Contarino Monday as the two were walking to a homeless shelter where both were staying. The attack came only hours after a rally held in Greenwich Village for Mark Carson, 32, the gay man shot to death on Saturday while walking with a companion near gay-rights landmark the Stonewall Inn.
Roman and Contarino had visited several bars together the night of the beating, including gay bar Boiler Room, and were having a conversation about homosexuality when Roman turned on his friend. Witnesses of the incident reported that Roman was kicking Contarino while shouting anti-gay slurs, according to Advocate.com.
The victim, a former club promoter, had been knocked unconscious, making him unable to identify the attacker to police. After receiving medical attention, Contarino posted photos of his bruised and scraped face on his Facebook page where friends and followers are reaching him with well-wishes.
“Good to see your humor and see you’re strong Dan. Loving that you’re showing the world that we will stand UP against bullying and will not back down with fear,” supporter Brian Norwood posted on Facebook.
The beating is one in a recent rash of anti-gay crimes. Two other gay men were attacked after Monday’s rally for shooting victim Mark Carson.
Two men hurled gay slurs and threw punches at victims Steven Dixon, 42, and Michael Coleman, 41, while they walking on Broadway near Houston Street at around 5 a.m. Police were able to track down and arrest the assailants, Fabian Ortiz, 32, and Pedro Jimenez, 23 and charged with assault as a hate crime.
“Thankfully in this case no one was killed,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said of the more recent incidents.
“But that doesn’t for a moment make these crimes any less despicable or any less unacceptable.”