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Grand Jury Reportedly Indicts Suspects in Killings of 2 Gay Men in NYC

Grand Jury Reportedly Indicts Suspects in Killings of 2 Gay Men in NYC

Gavel along with images of Julio Ramirez and Robert Umberger

Julio Ramirez and Robert Umberger were drugged, robbed, and left to die.

@wgacooper

A grand jury in Manhattan has indicted several suspects in connection to the deaths of two gay men who were drugged, robbed, and killed.

The men were targeted after going to New York City gay bars on separate occasions.

New York law enforcement officials said the suspects have been indicted over the killings of 25-year-old Julio Ramirez and 33-year-old Robert Umberger, NBC News reports.

The outlet notes that six people were previously indicted on robbery charges connected to the cases and that the indictments were for several of those suspects.

Officials said that while the victims are thought to have been targeted only for financial gain and not because they were gay, the city’s hate crime task force is working on the investigation as well.

A spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office said in an email to The Advocate that the office “cannot comment or confirm” suspects were indicted in the cases. The spokesperson said that the indictments wouldn’t be unsealed until the suspects are arraigned.

The New York Police Department said there were “no arrests on file in regard to the homicides” of the two men, but said the investigation remains ongoing.

Ramirez’s body was found in the back of a taxi after he left the Ritz Bar and Lounge with some men on April 20, 2022. The social worker’s family said about $20,000 had been taken from his bank accounts. His death was due to “acute intoxication by the combined effects of fentanyl, p-fluorofentanyl, heroin, cocaine, lidocaine, and ethanol," authorities said, NBC News reported earlier this month.

Umberger, a political consultant, was killed about a month later after he and a couple of men left the Q, a gay bar in Hell’s Kitchen. He too died from “acute intoxication by the combined effects of fentanyl, p-fluorofentanyl, heroin, cocaine, lidocaine, and ethanol." His bank accounts were also drained of about $20,000, according to his mother, Linda Clary. Clary has called on local authorities to raise awareness over the killings and the dangers to the LGBTQ+ community in New York.

The New York City medical examiner’s office said they were investigating several other deaths similar to those of Ramirez and Umberger.

@wgacooper
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