(Watch) Candlelight Vigil Held For Mark Carson an Openly Gay Man Shot And Killed In Greenwich Village

Hundreds turned out late last night to attend a candlelight vigil in Greenwich Village to remember Mark Carson. Carson, an openly gay 32-year-old man, was confronted by a man screaming anti-gay slurs in the Greenwich Village, who stalked him before pulling out a silver revolver and fatally shooting him in the face, according to the NYPD.

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In a sad irony, Carson was murdered just just blocks from the Stonewall Inn and other famous LGBT landmarks that stand as reminders of where the early struggle for gay liberation unfolded.

Carson had recently moved to Brooklyn from Harlem after saving up money from his job at a yogurt shop in Midtown, according to his decade-long friend Kay Allen.

“He was a proud gay man,” Ms. Allen said. “A fabulous gay man.” She said he loved going to the [West] Village. “His spirit was too big for this city,” she said. “He didn’t have a negative bone in his body.”

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Carson’s father told the New York Post:

I thought that kind of hate stuff was gone, but I see that it’s not,” the victim’s distraught father, Mark Carson Sr., told The Post. “It’s simply ridiculous. People are what people are. They do what they do. You can’t knock down who people are.

 

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Shooting suspect Elliot Morales, 33, was charged with Second Degree Murder As A Hate Crime, as well as Criminal Possession Of A Weapon on Saturday, according to CBS2. Morales had been in custody but refused to give his name. He was eventually identified by police using facial recognition technology. Police are searching for two additional people who were with Morales’ just before and during the shooting.

Police take a man into custody following this morning's fatal shooting in Greenwich Village.(Source: New York Post)
Police take a man into custody following this morning’s fatal shooting in Greenwich Village.(Source: New York Post)

The New York Times reports:

“This clearly looks to be a hate crime,” Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said at a news conference on Saturday. A suspect, later identified as Elliot Morales, 33, was arrested.

Mr. Kelly described a chaotic scene that involved a man seemingly out looking for trouble when he crossed paths with Mr. Carson and ended up shooting him in the face. The violence was quickly followed by a police chase and an arrest on the corner of West Third and Macdougal Streets as scores of bar hoppers looked on in shock.

Mr. Kelly said there had been a rise in bias-related crimes in New York City this year — 22 compared with 13 during the same period last year. In just the past three weeks, there have been five attacks directed at gay men, including a vicious assault on a gay couple outside Madison Square Garden on May 5.

Timothy Lunceford, 56, who has lived in the West Village for 35 years, said he believed the killing was a brazen display of a kind of intolerance he had not known in New York for decades. “It’s outrageous,” he said. “They say we’ve worked through homophobia, but it’s not gone away. It’s just not usually as out there in the open like it was this morning.”

 

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Watch the Candlelight Vigil Below

Photos from the Candlelight Vigil Below

Photos and video courtesy of Michael Paul

Photos via JoeMyGod