Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg joined Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Police Department Commissioner Keechant Sewell today to announce the arrest and indictment of the final suspect in the Julio Ramirez and John Umberger murder cases. The two men were last seen alive in Hell’s Kitchen in spring of last year. 

Julio Ramirez and John Umberger
Julio Ramirez and John Umberger. Photos: Instagram

The DA’s office announced the arrest of Jayqwan Hamilton, 34, in addition to the previous arrests of Robert Demaio, 34, Jacob Barroso, 29, Andre Butts, 27, and Shane Hoskins, 30, who are charged with drugging and robbing at least 17 victims at bars and restaurants around the city — including Ramirez and Umberger, who died as a result of their assaults. 

“Our entire city continues to mourn the tragic losses of Mr Ramirez and Mr Umberger,” said District Attorney Bragg at the conference. “In addition to the pain their deaths have caused for their family and loved ones, I know many other New Yorkers have feared for their own safety when going out to meet up with friends. I am grateful to our professional and dedicated team for their hard work, along with the detectives at the NYPD who were outstanding partners throughout this entire investigation.” He encouraged anyone who has been victim to similar incidents to reach out to the office’s hotline at  212-335-9040.

“Our hearts go out to the families of John and Julio — we know how traumatic this can be,” said Mayor Eric Adams. “We’re hoping that these arrests can bring some sense of justice and bring about a conviction and bring about a message that is loud and clear – that those who bring violence to our city at any level will receive the same level of aggressiveness to bring them to justice, and that is what we did today.” 

Mayor Adams DA Bragg and NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell
Mayor Eric Adams, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg announce the arrests. Photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.

Ramirez, 25, and Umberger 33, disappeared and were found dead within weeks of each other in the spring of 2022 after spending the evening in Hell’s Kitchen.  Ramirez, a mental health counselor living in Brooklyn was found dead after leaving the Ritz Bar on April 21 2022 with three unidentified men. Upon his death, his bank accounts were drained of at least $20,000 and purchases were made using his credit cards. On May 26 Umberger, a DC-based political consultant who had visited now-closed Hell’s Kitchen Q nightclub, went missing and was eventually found dead on June 1 with $25,000 taken from his accounts. 

Both deaths were initially ruled accidental overdoses, but the families and friends of Ramirez and Umberger urged investigators to consider their deaths a result of foul play – citing testimonies from other surviving victims as proof of a crime pattern. In March, the Medical Examiner’s office classified both deaths as homicides, adding that the two men were killed by a lethal dose of fentanyl, p-fluoro fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, lidocaine and ethanol.

The Manhattan DA’s office told W42ST earlier this year that they were dedicated to finding closure for all the victims of the targeted crime ring, having previously made arrests in the unrelated drug and robbery murders of two Lower East Side clubgoers late last year.

For Hell’s Kitchen lawmakers, Tuesday’s announcement was an important milestone in a long and uneasy period for the area’s LGBTQIA+ community. “Hell’s Kitchen and the LGBTQ community can breathe a sigh of relief with the arrest of the ringleader of the violent crew who killed and robbed Julio Ramirez and John Umberger,” said Assembly Member Tony Simone. “I’m grateful for the efforts of the NYPD in this arrest and for keeping my office and our community informed throughout this investigation, as well as to the DA’s office for securing indictments against six gang members who made up this crew. Violent criminals who prey on the innocent must always be held fully accountable.”

“Although these arrests will not bring back Julio and John, they are a step towards justice for their families and loved ones. I hope this sends a message far and wide that if you victimize our community, you will be apprehended and you will be held accountable,” added City Council Member Erik Bottcher. “We must continue to work together as New Yorkers to combat violence and seek justice for victims. I want to thank Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and the NYPD for their work on these cases, and I send my deepest sympathies to families and loved ones of Julio and John.  Let us honor their memory by working towards a safer and more equitable society for all.”

Join the Conversation


  1. My heart breaks again every time I see Julio’s picture. In a world so filled with hate and division, this young man chose to devote his life and vocation to helping others by working as a social worker, a field which sadly is not financially rewarding. We still have such a need for what he was offering. Justice may be done–it may not–but nothing will ever compensate for this loss.

    1. As the self-acknowledged “Queen of the Drug Crowd” I hope that you understand that you are, to no small extent, culpable for creating the environment that led to these and other deaths. Your purported grief is minimized in effect by your complicity and your need for self-absolution.

      1. Dear DHT,

        When I said I was “Queen of the Drug Crowd,” I was sarcastically replying to a bizarre accusation you had made against me. In fact of matter, I have no affiliation with the Drug Crowd. I hope this clears up matters and that you have the day you deserve.


        Maureen Taft

        1. I choose to believe what you wrote before, not what you are writing now that you have had time to reflect upon what you previously wrote. Honestly, I find it difficult to believe that anyone would assert anything like that if they had nothing to do with drugs,. Either way, you are still defending the drug crowd which I find reprehensible.

  2. A clearly incapacitated Umberger was essentially kidnapped out of the bar by these three guys and no one did anything. If you “see something, say something” has never applied in these bars. Gay bars have normalized predatory drugging and this is the inevitable result. Gay bars are not now and have never been safe spaces. Actually the opposite is true, they are places where predators routinely victimize the naive. There are a lot of places gay men can go now where we don’t have to tolerate this kind of dangerous atmosphere, That is the real reason why the bars are closing, many of us no longer go to gay bars. For all intents and purposes “gay bar” now equals “drug den” and the owners and managers have not only allowed but encouraged this.

    1. Oh great .., you again .
      You and your comments are not welcome here . You don’t even live here. You will cause comments to get shut down once again . What is wrong with you ?

      1. More like what is wrong with you coming on here and defending the predators in the bars? Also, you know nothing about my life and where I live.

        1. would you PLEASE stop with your hideous comments. You don’t even make sense. What is your vendetta against gay bars in NYC? You’re an absolute fool.

          1. You’re the one that isn’t welcome…well except with the drug crowd in the gay bars, I’m sure they love you. Your victims probably not so much. That is basically all gay bars are now, predators, enablers, and victims.

      1. You realize that in essence you are confirming what I wrote and are in fact confirming that they are dangerous and letting everyone know to stay away from the bars. Thank you, I can appreciate your validation. If John and Julio had known, along with all the other victims, they would still be with us.

          1. I guarantee you will leave before I do. Young men have a right to know about the drug problems in the bars. It is the single greatest public health crisis facing the gay community. Who exactly are you, are you a dealer, a user/addict, or do you work in a bar? Because those are the only people that want to keep this big dirty secret.

  3. We cannot lump all LGBTQ+ establishments together. As with all things, there are good actors and bad actors. In July, Frankie Sharp (formerly a partner at Q Club) stated that one of the other partners insisted security allow GHB (date-rape drug) into the club ( This doesn’t mean ALL clubs are like this, but we also need to acknowledge that drugs are pervasive in the nightlife scene in general and that scene in our neighborhood happens to skew heavily toward LGBTQ establishments. There is no reason to resort to name calling and inflammatory comments. That will not lead to productive conversations or solutions.

    1. I agree whole-heartedly. Inclusive LGBTQ spaces, or Queer spaces, are a lot less dangerous than the gay bars and my partner and I still go to these. Sadly, the majority of gay bars are almost all like Q, (fortunately that one has closed), basically nothing more than recruiting grounds for the ChemSex crowd. When I worked at a club years ago we were explicitly told to keep the drug dealers out. It was easy to to because everyone knew who they were. That is what has fundamentally changed.

    2. Actually if I were Linda Clary I would seriously be considering suing Zachary Quinto and Billy Porter for what happened to Jason, along with the other co-owners of Club Q.

        1. Why is it ridiculous? In the very least they are all guilty of negligence. Jason Umberger was drugged and basically carried out of the bar and no one did anything. The owners deliberately cultivated and promoted a dangerous drug infused environment. If Jason were my son I would definitely sue them.

    3. except this DHT person is an IDIOT and doesn’t know what he’s talking about . He has some sort of vendetta.

      1. I definitely do, a vendetta against predatory drugging in gay spaces. The bars could stop this but they choose not for for economic reasons. If think that it is ok to dose someone then you are obviously part of the problem, but I bet you take home a lot of “dates” so that is most likely your motivation.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *