Eight suspects arrested in connection with the brutal torture of two teenage boys and a man in an anti-gay attack in the Bronx last week have been arraigned.
The suspects were arraigned Sunday afternoon. They did not enter pleas. Bail was set at $100,000 for two of the defendants. All other defendants were ordered held without bail.
Police are still looking for a ninth suspect, who was expected to turn himself in but never showed.
Police say the nine members of the Latin King Goonies gang went on a rampage after hearing a rumor that one of their teenage recruits was gay.
Investigators say the 17-year-old was stripped, beaten and sodomized with a plunger handle until he confessed to having had sex with a 30-year-old man.
Police say the group found a second teen they suspected was gay and tortured both him and the 30-year-old.
On Saturday, just outside the apartment building where the nine suspected gang members committed the horrific crimes, Gov. David Paterson joined Council Speaker Christine Quinn and four other council members to make an emotional, forceful stand against LGBT discrimination.
"You are attacking our New York City society. You are attacking the right to be an American," Paterson told the invisible perpetrators.
Noting the recent uptick in suicides by gay teens, the governor said at an earlier event, "It's just a tragedy ... that you would think that the publicity would urge people to come together and stop the violence, may even have precipitated more violence with three victims who were hurt [Friday] by some obviously angry and vicious individuals."
Quinn, who is openly lesbian, explained the fear experienced by LGBT individuals as they walk down the street translates into a bitter and cruel deprivation of one's sense of self.
"Think of what you are robbed of if you can't walk down the street without fear of the fact that the way God made you is going to move someone else to violence," she said, and passed out leaflets imploring residents to turn in two suspects still at large.
In talking to police, one gets the sense that the group who allegedly attacked the gay teens is not an established gang but more of a group of people from the same neighborhood who gather together and call themselves the "Latin King Goonies."
Bola Omotosho, of Community Board 5, adamantly described the members as a bunch of "wannabes."
But community members say that makes them no less dangerous.
Thus as community leaders and advocates went through the neighborhood distributing fliers there were two goals: to make sure all the suspects are brought to justice and ensure no such devastating attack ever happens again.
Yet as the community rises against those who would commit such heinous crimes, at least one parent of those accused feels pain, sadness and helplessness over the path he says his child chose.
"They don’t listen for nothing," said a distraught Carabarllo as he admitted his son was in a gang. "There's no way I can explain too much because this happening to me ... I'm going wild for this, too much."