A 69-year-old gay man was allegedly stabbed to death with an eight-inch knife under a New York subway station in broad daylight Sept. 16.
Though witnesses initially speculated that the attack occurred over a cell phone, officials are now reporting that the victim lost his life because the attacker thought the man was gay, according to NBC.
Steven Torres, a 22-year-old Bronx resident, is facing charges of second degree murder for the death of Ever Orozco after allegedly attacking the man beneath the elevated 7 train station at 90th St. and Roosevelt Ave as he was feeding a parking meter around 1:30 p.m.
“There was a lot of screaming, and all I could see was the guy was stabbing him — stabbing him and stabbing him,” stated Eddie De Jesus, a local stop owner who bore witness to the incident.
According to the New York Daily News, Torres is claiming that he initiated the attack because Orozco “[blew] kisses” at him.
“I really don’t know what to think,” Julio Lobaton, who witnessed the attack, told ABC. “I’m just shaken because what happened to this poor guy…He was screaming, ‘Help me help me.’ I tried to intervene, but then he pulled a knife and started stabbing the guy on the floor.”
Torres reportedly led witnesses attempting to come to Orozco’s aid on a chase through the neighborhood before police apprehended him at 84th St. and Roosevelt Av.
Other eyewitnesses reportedly stated that Torres remained silent as he slaughtered Orozco to death — but laughed after being apprehended by authorities. “He was laughing, yes,” Lobaton told ABC. “He was laughing like nothing.”
Edward Orozco was pronounced dead at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, according to reports.
This is the second high-visibility alleged murder of a gay individual in NYC over the past several months, with Mark Carson shot to death in the West Village last May after suspect Elliot Morales reportedly referred to him and his companion as “gay wrestlers.”
Overall, NYC has seen a sharp spike in anti-LGBT violence since the spring, with former mayoral candidate Christine Quinn reportedly stating that year-to-year numbers have shown an expected 70 percent increase in anti-gay hate crimes.
Additionally, in mid-August a gay couple was attacked while walking home from the movies in the historically gay-friendly neighborhood of Chelsea.
Prior to this incident, a man was a victim of violence after leaving the popular gay bar Pieces, and a group of Knicks fans attacked a gay couple near Madison Square Garden, breaking one of the the individuals’ wrists and calling them faggots. A group of gay men were also the victims of alleged anti-gay police brutality in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedstuy in early June.
In terms of violence against transgender individuals, the numbers are a whole different horrifying story, with hate violence disproportionately affecting transgender women of color.