NEW YORK -- Police in Manhattan are investigating the overnight murder of a 32-year-old man in Greenwich Village as an anti-gay hate crime.
The suspect arrested at the scene around midnight Saturday has been accused of hurling anti-gay slurs at the victim, who was walking down Sixth Avenue with a friend when several other men accosted them.
Witnesses told police that the suspect hounded the victim, calling him a "faggot," saying he looked like a "gay wrestler" and making other slurs. The suspect then asked the men: "Do you want to die here?"
The two groups walked away from each other, but apparently the suspect returned and shot the victim in the head with a .38 caliber revolver.
The victim was identified as Marc Carson of Harlem.
Police later told the media that the suspect had been seen about 20 minutes earlier urinating on the street outside the Annisa bar just blocks from Stonewall Inn, birthplace of the modern gay rights movement. Because he apparently had been spotted by patrons, the suspect went into the restaurant and threatened people if they called police and flashed a gun in a shoulder holster, the Associated Press reported. Police said the suspect also made anti-gay slurs in the restaurant before he left.
The suspect, who had a false ID at the time of his arrest, was later identified as Elliot Morales, 33.
New York -- Manhattan in particular -- has been plagued by an uptick in anti-gay crimes over the past few months.