On Friday night, a man was shot and killed in Greenwich Village and the NYPD is convinced that it was a hate crime. Mark Carson, 32, was walking down Sixth Avenue with a friend when they were accosted by three men. One of them, 33-year-old Elliot Morales, allegedly asked Carson "Do you want to die here?" before pulling out a .38-caliber weapon and shooting him in the cheek. Carson later died at Beth Israel Hospital.
Police say that Morales and his friends began berating Carson and his 31-year-old friend with homophobic insults, then chased them while yelling "f*****" and "queer" when they tried to walk away. “This fully looks to be a hate crime; a bias crime. There were no words that would aggravate the situation that were spoken by the victims," said NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly.
Though Morales fled the scene, police caught up with him about five blocks away. They struggled to identify him at first because he was carrying the ID of a Pennsylvania man, but they eventually used facial recognition technology to confirm his identity. The murder weapon was recovered, and Morales' two accomplices were arrested as well.
“I thought that kind of hate stuff was gone, but I see that it’s not," said Mark Carson, Sr. of his son's murder. Carson managed a yogurt shop and had just relocated from Harlem to Brooklyn. Longtime friend Kay Allen described Caron as "a proud gay man" who "didn't have a negative bone in his body."