Courtesy of The New York Post
A gay man was gunned down in Greenwich Village early today by an armed bigot who hurled homophobic slurs at him — and claimed to be the Newtown, Conn. killer before the murder, police said today.
The 32-year-old Brooklyn victim, whose name has not been released, was walking with a pal on Sixth Avenue near West Eighth Street about midnight when they were approached by three 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 the other two 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?” the shooter asked the victim.
He pulled out a .38-caliber revolver and shot him once in the cheek.
“It was a quickie. He shot him and he went straight to the ground,” said a bouncer at a nearby club. “Half his body was lying on the sidewalk and half was on the street.”
The man died shortly after at Beth Israel Hospital.
“This is clearly a hate crime,” Kelly told reporters.
There have been 22 bias attacks in the city so far this year, up from 13 at this point last year, he added.
After wounding the victim, the shooter ran east and then downtown. Police nabbed him shortly after on MacDougal and West Third streets.
When he saw the cop car, he tossed his revolver to the ground and surrendered.
He is currently being questioned at the Sixth Precinct but has not been conclusively identified because he has a phony ID on him, cops said.
The shooter appeared crazed and confessed to the shooting after he was nabbed, a police source said.
Twenty minutes before the slaying, the suspect had gotten into confrontation after urinating on the wall of a bar called Annisa, on Barrow and West Fourth streets.
When a bartender confronted him, the brute told him that if he called police, he would shoot him.
“Don’t you know I’m wanted? Do you know about the shooting in Sandy Hook?” he bizarrely told the bartender, according to Kelly. “I’m a wanted man.”
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn — who is running to be the New York’s first openly gay mayor — said she was horrified by the attack.
“There was a time in New York City when two people of the same gender could not walk the street arm-in-arm without fear of violence and harassment,” she said. “We refuse to go back to that time.”
Police are asking anyone with information about the murder to call the Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS.
Additional reporting by Natasha Velez and Antonio Antenucci