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NYPD Investigates Spate of Killings & Thefts Involving LGBTQ+ People

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A spokesperson for the NYPD says the agency is investigating these attacks as financially motivated crimes.


Police detectives in New York City are investigating a spate of violent assaults and killings that have involved members of the LGBTQ+ community.

A gay man's mother spoke out against the district attorney last week after her son was robbed and killed under suspicious circumstances.

John Umberger, 33, of Washington, D.C., was drugged, robbed, and murdered after a night out in New York visiting gay bars in Hell's Kitchen earlier this year. Umberger's mother, Linda Clary, accused the prosecutor of taking his time investigating her son's death.

A spokesperson for the New York City Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Public Information told The Advocate in an email that the Police Department's Crime Against Persons Unit and the Homicide Squads of Manhattan North and South are investigating the rash of violence in the past several months where people were robbed, assaulted, or killed.

"Some of the victims are members of the LGBTQIA+ community, however, it is believed that not all of the victims are," the statement read in part. "It is also believed that the motivation for these assault/robberies is monetary gain."

The body of Brooklyn social worker Julio Ramirez, 25, was discovered in the back of a taxi on April 21. His wallet and phone were also missing, and somebody had emptied his bank account of about $20,000. In the same way as Umberger, he also visited gay bars in Hell's Kitchen. While both men died of drug overdoses, postmortem toxicology reports also indicated they had been "roofied," which means spiked drinks had poisoned them.

According to a department official, no arrests have been made in the Umberger death, which remains under NYPD investigation. The spokesperson said that in both of the cases officials are awaiting a determination of the cause of death by the medical examiner's office.

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