Two New York City men were arrested today following an early-morning attack on two gay men near Madison Square Garden.
Asllan Berisha and Brian Ramirez, both 21-year-old Manhattan residents, were arrested on charges of with gang assault and assault as a hate crime, the New York Post reports.
Two gay men, whose names were not released, say they were attacked by a group of five or six shortly before 5 a.m. after the two were turned away from a billiard parlor, the Post reports. They say the assailants asked if the two men were gay, and when they replied yes, began beating them, causing severe facial injuries to both, with one requiring eye surgery.
“They came after us and fought with us because we are homosexuals,” one of the victims told police, according to the paper.
Police are seeking at least three other suspects, who ran from the scene after the attack. They also are trying to determine if there was any connection between this and an assault on two other gay men Sunday afternoon just outside Madison Square Garden.
City Council speaker and mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn lauded the police work and warned New Yorkers to stay vigilant, Gothamist reports. She added, “I am outraged by this string of assaults. These vicious assaults are not reflective of the diversity that defines New York City. Our city prides itself on its inclusiveness, and hateful slurs and physical attacks against anyone, for any reason, go against the very fabric of what makes our city great.”