The NYPD Hate Crime Task Force is investigating the attack on Wednesday evening on W44th Street and 10th Avenue in which a man was beaten and stabbed by a group of seven youths.
Last night, police released surveillance footage of the suspects sought in connection with the Hell’s Kitchen attack. Authorities say the group, believed to range in age from 18 to 20 years old, made an anti-gay statement to the victim before attacking him.
Five minutes before the stabbing, surveillance footage around the corner on W44th Street near 9th Avenue captured a group of seven individuals, dressed similarly to the suspects in the stabbing, approaching a 24-year-old man on the sidewalk. One of the individuals punched the victim in the back of the head with no warning.
Stabbing victim Raphael Ribot, 44, told Eyewitness News that he normally wouldn’t respond to anti-gay slurs but chose to defend himself this time. Two of the suspects punched him in the head, and another pulled a knife and stabbed him in the leg. “How many times can you come up to someone and try to nullify your worth before you can’t take it?” Ribot said. The suspects then fled the scene. No arrests have been made.
The stabbing occurred at around 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday, and was captured on security video from a nearby business. In the video, the victim can be seen with bloodied jeans while two people appear to be tightening a tourniquet on his leg.
Good Samaritans rushed to the victim’s aid, helping him inside Mr Biggs Bar on the corner of W43rd Street, where they made a makeshift tourniquet for his leg until an ambulance arrived. “He was panicking … I said, got you brother,” local business owner Richie Friendly told Eyewitness News. “My tattoo artist pulled his belt off. I said let me put this around his leg.”
The attack has sent shockwaves through the neighborhood, with many concerned about the rise of violence against the LGBTQ community. “It’s incredibly upsetting that a group of individuals would come to Hell’s Kitchen, one of the most prominent LGBTQ neighborhoods in the city, maybe the entire world, and attack someone possibly because they are LGBTQ,” said Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal in a statement.
Tony Willging recounted details of the earlier incident, stating that the victim, a friend of his, did not want to speak on camera due to safety concerns. Willging assisted the victim in contacting the police following the assault and spoke to CBS News. NYPD could not at this time confirm that the two incidents were related.
“All this anti-LGBTQ language has consequences, and what’s particularly saddening to me is the possibility that it might have been teenagers who committed this, because they are consuming this online rhetoric and seeing what’s going on and it manifests itself in the real world,” said Council Member Erik Bottcher.