New York City has capped off a month of hate crimes — which included the vandalizing of Jewish families' homes on Holocaust Remembrance Day, a Columbia University football player grabbing an Asian student and using ethnic slurs against him, and the beatings of two gay couples in midtown — with an incident even more terrible than the ones that preceded it. 32-year old Mark Carson was shot to death in Greenwich Village on Friday night by 33-year-old Elliot Morales, who "made anti-gay remarks" before pulling the trigger.
Carson and a friend were walking up Sixth Avenue when they were approached by Morales and two other guys near 8th Street. "One man snarled 'look at these faggots,' and asked if they were gay wrestlers," reports the New York Post. "Both men were wearing tank tops and shorts, cops said. One asked the assailant, 'What did you say?'" before the pair turned to leave. According to the New York Times, "One of the gunman’s companions tried to talk him out of following Mr. Carson, according to the police. That companion left, the police said." Meanwhile, Morales and his remaining friend caught up with Carson in front of a nearby Gray's Papaya.
The thugs then called them "faggot," and "queer" on that street, authorities said. One then coldly asked the two guys, "Do you want to die here?" He asked one of the victims, "Are you with him?"
The victim said yes, and the suspect pulled out a 38-caliber revolver and shot him once in the cheek.
Carson was taken to Beth Israel, where he was pronounced dead. Morales fled the scene, running to MacDougal Street and West 3rd Street, where he dropped his weapon after cops confronted him, Ray Kelly told reporters. He was taken into custody and reportedly confessed to the murder. The police commissioner also said that Morales was caught peeing outside a bar, Annisa, about twenty minutes before the fatal shooting, and that he went inside and threatened the bartender with a gun. "He says, 'don’t you know I’m wanted?' said Kelly. 'Do you know about the shooting in Sandy Hook? I’m a wanted man.' The man then said an anti-gay slur."
Openly gay State Senator Brad Hoylman called the attack "shocking and extremely distressing," particularly because much of "the recent wave of anti-LGBT violence" in New York has "occurred in neighborhoods in my district on the West Side of Manhattan, home to many members of our community." Christine Quinn also released a statement saying she was "horrified" to learn of the incident. "There was a time in New York City when hate crimes were a common occurrence. There was a time in New York City when two people of the same gender could not walk down the street arm-in-arm without fear of violence and harassment," she said. "We refuse to go back to that time."
This post has been updated throughout.