Steven Torres, 22, of New York is charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime in connection with the stabbing death of a 69-year-old man he thought was gay, NBC 4 New York reports.
Witnesses ran after and held Torres after he allegedly stabbed Ever Orozco, who was putting money into a parking metre near Roosevelt Avenue and 90th Street in Queens.
One witness, Eddie De Jesus, told NBC 4, "There was a lot of screaming, and all I could see was the guy was stabbing him — stabbing him and stabbing him."
According to the report, police initially said the attack on Orozco was over a cellphone. Gay Star News reports that Torres has claimed that he attacked Orozco for blowing kisses in his direction.
Torres is also charged with assault as a hate crime in the stabbing of a 47-year-old man in a Sept 12 incident on the Lower East Side, an updated report says.
NBC reports that Torres allegedly attacked the two men because he believed "they were making sexual advances toward him," but also notes that police say there was no indication that either Orozco or the 47-year-old man are gay.
These latest incidents follow the death of a New York City transgender woman, who was beaten and targeted with anti-gay slurs, as well as a series of attacks on LGBT people in the city.
Sharon Stapel, executive director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project, told Gay Star News that it's rare to "see multiple anti-LGBT homicides in New York City in one year."
Stapel added, "Since May, we have seen homicides in the West Village, Harlem and Jackson Heights and we know that any neighborhood in New York City can be impacted by anti-LGBT violence. We are extremely concerned about this disturbing trend of violence against our communities."