Outraged city leaders say the city wouldn't tolerate the "vicious'' hatred that had apparently caused a street gang to allegedly beat and torture two teenagers and a man inside an abandoned home over the course of several hours because they were gay.
Police arrested an eighth suspect in the beatings Saturday, while a ninth remained at large.
Jose Carabarllo's 17-year-old son is one of the more than half a dozen suspected gang members accused of extreme acts of violence fueled by anti-gay hate -- and he spoke to his boy about the alleged crime.
"He said I’m not involved with that, I’m not involved with that pop," Carabarllo recalls his son telling him.
Carabarllo waited outside of the Bronx Criminal Courthouse with his son's wife, who is five months pregnant. Genesis Suarez insists her husband was "with me" the day prosecutors say a gang stripped, beat and sodomized a 17-year-old recruit with a plunger handle after learning he was gay, before grabbing a second teen and torturing him as well.
But when pressed, Suarez couldn't remember which day that was.
A third attack involved a 30-year-old man who they lured to the apartment and sodomized with a miniature baseball bat.
Eight suspects, including Carabarllo's son, are under arrest. One more is being sought.
Much of the gut-wrenching details remain a blur, but the incident is a stark reminder of and addition to the recent rash of anti-gay crimes that have plagued the city from Staten Island to the Stonewall Inn at the very heart of the gay movement in Greenwich Village. And city leaders are speaking out.
"Nothing can justify that kind of mindless vicious violence," Archbishop of New York Timothy Doland said at an event Saturday.
Just outside the apartment building where the nine suspected gang members reportedly tortured and sodomized gay men, 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 indivduals."
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."