MANHATTAN — A Queens man was arrested Tuesday and charged with beating an arts journalist in Midtown so badly that he remains in intensive care days after the attack, police and relatives said.
Jennings then slugged Gener, sending the arts reporter to the sidewalk, where he cracked his skull, according to the NYPD and Gener's family.
Police were initially trying to determine if the attack was a hate crime, because Gener is gay, but that investigation has ended, according to a police spokesman.
Jennings, who was expected to be arraigned Wednesday on charges of assault, fled with the others after the attack, police and friends said. Nothing was taken from Gener during the incident, police said.
Jennings was previously arrested in 2010 for patronizing a prostitute, and again in 2013 for possession of marijuana, a police spokesman said.
"He didn't have anything against gay people, not that I know of," said Jennings' brother, Darrell Jennings.
Leighton Jennings had been living in a Queens apartment with his girlfriend since Christmas, but moved back home over the weekend, his mother Ellen Wilson told DNAinfo New York.
"He's very loving, very caring, very mannered," said Wilson, 58.
"From the depths of my heart, I didn't know anything about it. I didn't know he was involved in nothing," she added, choking back tears. "I'm very sorry for what happened. My heart goes out to [Gener] and I hope he's okay. I hope he recovers soon."
Gener, who has worked for The New York Times, The Village Voice and National Public Radio, was recuperating in the intensive care unit of St. Luke's Hospital on Tuesday and faces a long rehabilitation, relatives said.
"We have no idea of the full prognosis, but we're just focusing right now on getting him out of the ICU," Gener's sister, Jessica Driessler, told DNAinfo. "I'm still in shock and really sad about what happened."
With reporting by Aidan Gardiner.