According to police, a 69-year-old man was stabbed to death Monday afternoon in Queens because his attacker thought he was gay. Steven Torres, 22, was arrested at the scene and charged with murder as a hate crime.
The New York Daily News is reporting the crime took place as the 69-year-old, identified as Ever Orozco, parked his car after dropping his wife off at a doctor’s office.
“He (Torres) said the victim was blowing kisses to him. That’s what set him off,” a police source told the Daily News. “This is what he is claiming.”
Torres allegedly stabbed Orozco and then fled, with several witnesses chasing after him.
“There was a lot of screaming, and all I could see was the guy was stabbing him — stabbing him and stabbing him,” one witness told NBC New York. Another witness described the scene to WABC.
“I really don’t know what to think,” witness Julio Lobaton said. “I’m just shaken because what happen 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. Then he went up about three steps came back.”
Lobaton added that Torres seemed unfazed when police finally arrested him. “He was laughing, yes,” Lobaton said. “He was laughing like nothing.”
Should we so much as feign surprise?
The stabbing comes just four months after a surge of anti-gay crime in New York City. During a two week span, at least six people were attacked for being gay, including one man who was killed. In July, an LGBT youth group was threatened and assaulted on the subway after the Pride parade. And last month, a woman was murdered, allegedly because she was transgender
During questioning, Torres made a similar claim about fellow day laborer Miguel Gonzalez, 47, telling detectives he stabbed Gonzalez in the arm Thursday after he blew kisses at Torres.
Gonzalez was treated at Bellevue Hospital but apparently did not file a police report about the attack, which happened at a Stanton St. building where the men were working.
Torres has no prior arrest history.
Why did Gonzalez not report this attack to the police? Were there other attacks by Steven Torres we don’t know about?
Tom Waits will sing us out.