Mark Carson, a 32-year-old gay man, was murdered on Friday night in a hate crime that has rocked New York City’s famously gay-friendly West Village.
Carson was shot in the head with a .38-caliber revolver by ex-con Elliot Morales, 33, who yelled numerous gay slurs before the shooting. He’s been charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime, menacing, and criminal possession of a weapon, according to NY1, and is being held without bail.
Morales was “seemingly out looking for trouble,” as The New York Times put it, on Friday night as he made his way around the West Village with friends causing disturbances. He was seen urinating in front of a bar on West 4th Street, then entering the bar and calling the bartender antigay slurs. Morales also pulled up his sweatshirt to show he was carrying a gun; he threatened the bartender that if he called police, he would be killed. It is unclear whether the bartender called police at any point.
Morales and his friends then started harassing Carson and a friend, calling them antigay slurs like “fa**ots” and “gay wrestlers.” The friends then left Morales as he continued to stalk Carson on his own. On the corner of West 8th Street and 6th Ave, he pulled out the revolver and shot Mark Carson dead. He was chased and quickly apprehended. The Daily News reported that a “deranged-looking” Morales laughed to cops as he confessed to the killing.
Morales had previously served 10 years in prison for robbery, the Times reported; NY1 said Morales was arrested for attempted murder 15 years ago. It’s unclear how he came to acquire the gun.
“It’s clear that the victim here was killed only because and just because he was thought to be gay,” said New York Police Department Commissioner Raymond Kelly. The incident was NYC’s 22nd bias crime this year and the third anti-gay attack in as many weeks.
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