Knicks Fan Arrested in Attack on Gay Couple Outside Madison Square Garden
MIDTOWN — One of the men who allegedly beat a gay couple in broad daylight outside Madison Square Garden in May has been caught, five months after the attack, DNAinfo New York has learned.
Martin Martinez, 25, was arrested Oct. 3 and charged with the May 5 attack on Nick Porto, 27, and Kevin Atkins, 22, following a Knicks game, according to court records. Martinez was hit with hate crime charges of attempted assault and aggravated harassment and was released on $1,500 cash bail, according to court records.
Porto and Atkins were walking arm-in-arm down Eighth Avenue between West 34th and 35th Streets when they ran across a group of eight rowdy Knicks fans who began hurling homophobic slurs at them, police said.
The attack, first reported by DNAinfo, took place in view of dozens of cameras near the arena and spurred outrage from LGBT people nationwide and from local politicians. It was the first in a series of high-profile gay attacks in Manhattan in the spring and early summer that remained unsolved for months.
Police are hoping that Martinez will help give up his accomplices, sources said, and that more arrests will come in the case.
During the attack, Porto's nose was broken and he had severe headaches after the attack and Atkins's right wrist was broken.
For Porto and Atkins, the attack also took a deeply personal toll — after months of trying to deal with the pain of the experience, the pair split up.
"As time passed, things really didn't get easier or go back to normal," Porto said on Friday. "I've been told people get mugged all the time — the difference is when your mugged, the attacker wants your money. In a hate crime, they want blood."
Porto wanted to commend the NYPD for its work, even if it did take months to track the alleged attacker down.
"I had almost lost hope entirely," Porto said.
Martinez and his lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment. He is next due in court on Dec. 2.