Greenwich Village Murder Was Anti-Gay Hate Crime, Cops Say

Marc Carson, 32, was shot to death in Greenwich Village early Saturday morning after a gunman shouted anti-gay epithets, New York City police officials said. “This clearly looks to be a hate crime,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said at a news conference. Carson was shot on West Eighth Street after he and his friends were harassed by three men, one of whom followed Carson and shot him shortly after midnight. Police say they later arrested the gunman, who was carrying a .38-caliber revolver. The New York Post reports:

A gay man was gunned down in Greenwich Village early yesterday morning by an armed bigot who hurled homophobic slurs at him — and claimed to be the Newtown, Conn. killer before the murder, police said today.
Marc Carson, 32, was walking with a pal on Sixth Avenue near West Eighth Street about midnight when they were approached by Elliot Morales, 33 and two other Hispanic males, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.
One man snarled homophobic slurs at the men and asked them if they were “gay wrestlers,” Kelly said.
The men continued moving and made a right onto West Eighth Street.
One of the Hispanic men left and Morales and his buddy continued to follow the victim and another man.
Both the victim and another man with him were wearing tank tops, cutoff shorts and boots.
“Do you want to die here?” Morales asked the victim.

The murder took place just blocks from the landmark Stonewall Inn, site of a historic 1969 gay-rights protest in Greenwich Village, a neighborhood with numerous nightclubs catering to a gay clientele. Before the fatal encounter with Carson, the suspected shooter had caused a disturbance at a bar, the New York Times reports:

According to Mr. Kelly, the gunman was in the neighborhood with two other men shortly before midnight when he urinated in front of the Annisa bar and restaurant on Barrow Street at West Fourth Street.
The man then went inside and angrily confronted the bartender with antigay slurs, the police said, pulling up his gray hooded sweatshirt, and revealing a silver revolver in a shoulder holster. He threatened the bartender that if he called the police, he would be killed, the police said.

The murder of Carson, which is being investigated by the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force, follows a series of anti-gay incidents in the Village, WCBS-TV reported:

In the first incident on May 5, Nick Porto and his partner, Kevin Atkins, were beaten near Madison Square Garden after a group of men wearing Knicks shirts called them anti-gay slurs.
In the second early on May 10, two men tried to get into an after-hours billiards hall on West 32nd Street but were not let in, police said. They were then approached by a group of approximately five others who proceeded to shout anti-gay slurs and beat the men, police said.