Four teenage party crashers are suspect of beating to death an 18-year-old in Queens after shouting anti-gay slurs.
Police say the accused—Alex Velez, 16; and Nolis Ogando, Christopher Lazada and Luis Tabales, all 17—showed up uninvited to a birthday party hosted by two gay men and refused to pay the cover charge. The party’s hosts say the suspects then vandalized the property and shouted anti-gay epithets.
“They called us homos and all kinds of stuff,” said one of the men, who was celebrating his 20th birthday.
18-year-old Anthony Collao, a recent high school graduate who had planned to help run his family’s ice cream business, left the party after the violence began. According to The New York Daily News, the gang of suspects then chased Collao, kicking, punching and beating him with a pipe. Collao died Monday after two days on life support.
Given the suspects’ repeated use of anti-gay slurs, some community members are speculating that Collao, who was straight, may have been beaten to death because the perpetrators assumed he was gay.
The suspects were arraigned Monday night on charges of manslaughter and assault in Queens Criminal Court.