A 33-year-old Manhattan man who allegedly made anti-gay remarks to a 32-year-old man he's accused of fatally shooting in Greenwich Village has been charged with murder as a hate crime, police said.
Elliot Morales, who appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court, is also charged with criminal possession of a weapon and menacing, according to the complaint filed Sunday by the Manhattan district attorney's office.
Police used facial recognition software to identify Morales as the alleged shooter after he refused to identify himself or be fingerprinted, and was found in possession of a fake ID card, authorities said.
Morales was taken into custody shortly after police allege he shot Marc Carson, of 131st Street, following a confrontation on Eighth Avenue around midnight Friday.
He was ordered held without bail pending another court appearance on Thursday. His attorney, Reginald Sharpe, could not be reached for comment.
Shortly before the shooting, Morales had run into Carson and a friend near a 99 Cent Pizza and allegedly hurled anti-gay slurs at them. Morales had been with two other men at the time, and they allegedly asked if Carson was a "gay wrestler."
Carson made some remarks in response to the suspect's taunts and walked away, law enforcement sources said.
When Morales ran into the victim and his friend again later, he was alone. Words were exchanged for a second time, and the the suspect allegedly pulled out a .38-caliber revolver and shot Carson in the head, killing him, police said.
The suspect ran off, but was arrested later by a police officer on foot patrol who recognized him based on a description authorities put out after the shooting. A silver revolver was found in his possession.
Police say Morales has a criminal record, including an arrest for attempted murder in 1998. Detectives are looking to question the two men who were with the suspect during the initial confrontation near the pizza shop.
Police are reviewing surveillance video from the area.
Before the shooting, police say the suspect had a separate confrontation with a manager and bouncer at the West Village restaurant Annisa on Barrow Street. Both men told detectives the suspect made anti-gay comments and threatened them.
State and local officials blasted the slaying Saturday, citing a spike in alleged anti-gay crimes in Manhattan over the last several months.
On May 10, police said a gay couple was attacked on West 32nd Street and beaten so severely that one of the men needed eye surgery. Days earlier, another gay couple was assaulted by a group of men in the same area near Madison Square Garden.
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