A man was arrested Wednesday in connection with one of the eight anti-gay attacks that have struck New York in recent weeks.
Gornell Roman, 39, turned himself in Tuesday night and was charged Wednesday morning with assault and aggravated harassment, both as hate crimes. Roman attacked his drinking companion, Dan Contarino, while yelling homophobic remarks on Monday night. According to the Associated Press, both Roman and Contarino lived at a nearby homeless shelter.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said that Roman and Contarino had had drinks and pizza earlier that night and while returning to the Bowery Mission, Contarino told Gorman he was gay. At first, Roman talked about how he had friends and family who are gay, but then allegedly “just snapped, became enraged and yelled antigay expletives,” said Kelly. Roman struck Contarino, knocking him unconscious. The victim was later treated for his injuries before being released from Bellevue Hospital.
A separate incident occurred about seven hours later when Fabian Ortiz, 32, and Pedro Jimenez, 23 yelled anti-gay slurs and attacked an unidentified gay couple. Ortiz and Jimenez were subsequently arrested and charged with assault as a hate crime.
Last Friday, Mark Carson was shot and killed as he walked with a companion in Greenwich Village, just blocks from the Stonewall Inn — birthplace of the modern gay rights movement. The suspect was caught shortly afterwards and was charged with murder as a hate crime.
To combat this disturbing tide of violence, police will increase their presence in Greenwich Village and nearby neighborhoods through the end of June, Gay Pride Month. Meanwhile, the LGBT community has banded together for peaceful demonstrations along with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and DOMA Supreme Court plaintiff Edith Windsor.
The Anti-Violence Project will hold a Community Safety Night tomorrow, Friday May 24, to raise awareness and provide people with information and safety tips. The meetings will continue each Friday through June. AVP encourages you to report any violence you experience or witness to its free and confidential 24-hour bilingual (English/Spanish) hotline at 212-714-1141.
Photo: Gay Star News