A Greenwich Village killing is being investigated as a hate crime after an alleged assailant used homophobic slurs before firing a fatal shot into a man’s face.
The killing took place early on Saturday after the gunman confronted the victim and his companion in Greenwich Village, New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. The gunman was seen urinating outside an upscale restaurant just minutes before the Greenwich Village killing, Kelly said. He then went inside to ask if they were calling the police on him.
The gunman then confronted the bartender and manager, telling them, “if you do call the police, I’ll shoot you,” police said. The alleged gunman, identified as 33-year-old Elliot Morales, then revealed a revolver he was carrying.
Police said Morales then joined two others on the street, approaching 32-year-old Harlem resident Marc Carson and his companion. The men taunted the couple, prompting Carson to turn and ask what they had said.
But the group kept following the men, repeating more anti-gay slurs. After a few moments the confrontation seemed to end, and Carson walked away.
Witnesses say Morales wanted to continue after the victim and at least one of his companions tried to talk him out of it. The suspect caught up to Carson and asked, “Do you want to die here?” before pulling out his revolver and fired into the man’s cheek from point-blank range, Kelly said.
Police apprehended the suspect a short time after the Greenwich Village killing, while Carson was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Police said they believe anti-gay sentiment was the motive for the shooting.
“This clearly looks to be a hate crime,” Kelly said at a news conference on Saturday.
Carson, who had just moved to Harlem from Brooklyn, is being remembered as a kind-hearted man unashamed of who he was.
“He was a proud gay man,” said Kay Allen, a longtime friend. “A fabulous gay man.”
The Greenwich Village killing was the latest in a string of ant-gay incidents in New York in recent days. A 35-year-old man told police he was beaten last week and heard anti-gay slurs after leaving a bar, and on May 5 a man and his partner were beaten by a group of men outside a New York Knicks game.