Mark Carson, a 32 year-old gay man, was murdered on Friday night, after being subjected to homophobic slurs by his attacker, a stranger. Carson’s death is the latest incident in what is shaping up to be a series of violent, anti-gay hate crimes being committed throughout New York City.
Late on Friday night, Carson was walking through New York’s West Village with a companion. The New York City Police Department says that suspect Elliot Morales approached Carson and his companion, shouted anti-gay slurs at the two men and described them as “gay wrestlers,” before Carson and his companion attempted to defuse the situation and walk away. The gunman then chased Carson and his companion down, shooting Carson several times in the face. The incident occurred right on the street shortly after midnight, and Carson was rushed to a hospital where he was declared dead.
Morales was arrested shortly after the shooting only a few blocks away, after he was chased by police. Prior to the shooting, he was reportedly out with friends at bars in the neighborhood and was believed to be intoxicated. Morales was seen urinating in front of Annisa, a bar in the neighborhood, by a bartender. Morales then shouted anti-gay slurs at the bartender, showed off his gun, and told the bartender that if he called the police, he would be killed.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told CBS, “This fully looks to be a hate crime; a bias crime. There were not words that would aggravate the situation that were spoken by the victims. They did not know the confronter.”
The New York Times reports that this is the fifth attack directed at gay men in May alone, and the first death. The first incident occurred on May 5, when a gay couple was assaulted outside of Madison Square Garden after a basketball game. Last week, a gay man leaving a bar was attacked by two men who were yelling gay slurs.
New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is openly gay, condemned the attacks, saying “This kind of shocking and senseless violence, so deeply rooted in hate, has no place in a city whose greatest strength is its diversity.”