As the nation mourns the tragic murder of a young gay Harlem man, Mark Carson, his accused shooter is reportedly unfazed by his senseless act of violence and showed no remorse to the police over Carson’s death.
According to the New York Post, the shooter, Elliot Morales, was “laughing on the ground” and boasting about killing Carson as police were handcuffing him for the shooting early Saturday morning.
“Yeah, I shot him in the head,” Morales allegedly sneered.
The 32-year-old Carson was walking through Greenwich Village with a male friend when Morales and two of his friends began following the pair while they were walking on Sixth Avenue near West Eighth Street and Morales began harassing them.
Morales’ two friends left him before things turned violent, but when Carson confirmed that he and his friend were gay, Morales threatened him, saying, “do you want to die right here?” Morales then pulled out a silver Taurus .38-caliber revolver and shot Carson in the cheek, killing him.
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly says Carson’s murder is clearly a hate crime and Morales is now being charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime, menacing and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon.
“It’s clear that the victim here was killed only because and just because he was thought to be gay — there’s no question about that,” said Kelly. “There were derogatory remarks. The victim did nothing to antagonize or instigate the shooter. It was only done because the shooter believed him to be gay.”
Greenwich Village, which has historically been an LGBT friendly area of New York, has seen a huge spike an anti-gay violence over the past several weeks.
“Anti-gay attacks are up an alarming 77 percent from 13 such assaults during the same period last year.” Glennda Testone of the LGBT Center told the NY Times, “Things seem a little more hostile in the Village lately. People have been saying it’s especially [bad] on the weekends, when there is more of a commuter crowd. Perhaps what we’re seeing is that the growing approval of the LGBT community and the increasing equality isn’t reaching to every single street.”
It’s heartbreaking that amid so much social growth in terms of LGBT rights and representation, that Carson and so many others are being attacked and losing their lives just for being gay, bisexual or transgender. Sadly, homophobia is still a very real issue in our nation, and as our society works to eradicate it, there’s the terrifying reality that others in the community may be lost in the fight for equality. But we hope that that never has to be the case again and anger and violence will eventually give way to compassion and peace.
Check out the NYPD’s response to Carson’s death as well as a response from one of Carson’s family members below. –nicholas robinson