NYPD: Man shot dead in anti-gay attack
A 32-year-old man was fatally shot in the West Village early Saturday by a gunman spouting anti-gay slurs, police said.
The victim was shot in the face with a .38-caliber revolver while walking with a friend shortly after midnight on Eighth Street, police said.
"This clearly looks like a hate crime, a bias crime," NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said at a news conference.
The victim, identified as Marc Carson of Manhattan, was pronounced dead at a hospital.
The suspect, identified as Elliot Morales, 33, was arrested a few blocks from the shooting scene. Police said he was arrested previously on charges of attempted murder.
Investigators say Morales was carrying forged identification but was identified after it was submitted to the department's Facial Recognition Unit. Details on his previous arrest weren't immediately available.
On Friday night, Morales had threatened two employees at Annisa, a West Village bar, showing them a gun and shoulder holster under his hoodie. The suspect also made anti-gay slurs in that encounter, police said.
After leaving the bar, the gunman initially confronted the victim and his friend on Sixth Avenue. The pair kept walking and turned onto Eighth Street, unaware they were being followed.
Kelly said the suspect caught up with the victim and his friend and asked: "Do you want to die here?" The suspect then shot the victim in the cheek and fled, police said.
"There was no words that would aggravate the situation spoken by the victim here," Kelly said.
There has been a spike in bias crimes this year, with 22 reported so far -- up from 13 at this date last year, Kelly said.