US: New York Police releases sketch of suspects who violently attacked gay couple for holding hands

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

New York Police Department has released two new sketches of the suspects involved in a homophobic attack in Chelsea on Tuesday night.

Six people targeted two gay men as they left a cinema holding hands on West 24th Street, and beat them whilst hurling verbal anti-gay abuse.

The two victims, Michael Felenchak and boyfriend Peter Nortman, were leaving the Bow Tie Cinemas in Chelsea, when they were involved in a “confrontation”, with the six attackers, reported ABC 7.

They said they tried to fight back against the attackers, who called them “faggots”, they said, but that eventually they were overpowered.

The couple were treated at a nearby hospital and released shortly afterwards. One had sustained a laceration to the side of his face, and the other had a laceration on his chin which required seven stitches.

Now the New York Police department has released new sketches of two of the suspects involved in the attack.

The first is a black male, ‘wearing a white T-shirt.’

The second suspect, described as a black Hispanic male, was shirtless with tattoos on both his arms and chest.

Both suspects are from 16 to 20 years old.

Christine Quinn, the New York City mayoral hopeful, who would be not only the first openly gay mayor of the city, but also the first female mayor too, said she was “appalled” by the incident.

She said: “I am appalled by reports that two men were senselessly beaten in Chelsea simply because they were perceived to be gay. Holding hands as they walked down West 24th Street, they were assaulted as their attackers hurled anti-gay slurs.

“The cowardly individuals who committed this crime do not represent New Yorkers and our community will not be cowed by such violence. New York City’s greatest strength is our diversity, and we will not stand for attacks against anyone, for any reason.”

Several protests were held in New York City this summer, as the number of homophobic attacks grew to overwhelming numbers.