Suspect Arrested in NYC Attack on Gay Journalist

Police thought the attack may have been bias-motivated, but now say it was 'a tragic street altercation.'

BY Trudy Ring

January 30 2014 8:51 PM ET

Randy Gener

New York City police have made an arrest in the attack on gay journalist Randy Gener, but they say the assault was apparently not a hate crime, as initially suspected.

Leighton Jennings, 24, of Queens was arrested late Tuesday and charged with second-degree assault, the New York Daily News reports.

Police say Gener, a 46-year-old freelance writer, encountered Jennings in the early-morning hours of January 17 about a block from Gener’s apartment in midtown Manhattan; the journalist was on his way home from a party. Gener bumped into Jennings’s girlfriend, which led to an argument that ended with Jennings punching Gener in the face, according to police. Gener then fell and struck his head on the pavement, suffering a severe injury for which he required surgery. He is in stable condition at St. Luke’s Hospital.

“It was not a bias crime” but instead “a tragic street altercation,” said Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, according to the Daily News. BuzzFeed reports that police are still looking into the possibility that Gener was attacked because he’s gay, but the Daily News article says no hate-crime charges will be filed. After a court appearance Wednesday evening, Jennings was released on his own recognizance, according to the paper.

Police did not say how they tracked down Jennings. Gener has been unable to recall details of the attack, but police Monday released a sketch and description of the suspect along with information about the car in which he left the scene.

Gener underwent surgery to relieve pressure on his brain and may need additional surgery and have to spend up to a year in rehab, BuzzFeed reports. His family and friends are raising funds to cover his medical expenses through the YouCaring website.

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