Bloomberg, other N.Y. politicians decry attacks on 3 gay men
NEW YORK - Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Saturday that he was "sickened" by a string of attacks against gay men last weekend in the Bronx, joining a chorus of New York City leaders in condemning what many are calling the most horrific anti-gay violence in the city in recent memory.
Bloomberg said the quick arrests in the case - eight suspects are in custody and a ninth is sought - should be a message that people who commit hate crimes in New York City "will go to jail for a very long time."
Police said the nine members of a gang that called itself the Latin King Goonies went berserk after hearing a rumor that one of their new recruits, a 17-year-old, was gay. In an abandoned building, the teen was stripped, beaten and sodomized with a plunger handle until he confessed to having had sex with a 30-year-old man who lives a few blocks away, investigators say.
Then, the group grabbed a second teen they suspected was gay and tortured him, too.
Finally, they lured the 30-year-old to the house, telling him they were having a party. When he arrived, they beat and tortured him for hours. He was sodomized with a miniature baseball bat and burned with a cigarette, police said.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said several of the suspects had made statements implicating themselves in the crime. Asked if they had expressed any remorse for what they had done, Kelly said, "I wouldn't call it remorse."
Five City Council members and other elected officials visited the block Saturday, including Speaker Christine Quinn, who is gay. They were joined by area ministers, civic leaders and residents. "People were very, very clear that they wanted it to be known that the acts of these individuals do not represent their neighborhood," said Quinn. "They were as stunned as anyone that something so violent, so premeditated . . . could happen here."
The first of the attacks happened in the early morning hours of Oct. 3. The next two began the next night, and lasted into the early hours of Oct. 4.
Residents on the block said they were shocked.
"How can people do something like that?" asked Keith Handsford, an air conditioning repairman who lives next to the building where the assaults took place.
- Associated Press