NEW YORK (AP) — The killing of a gay man who police say was taunted with homophobic slurs drew thousands of people to the scene of the crime to restore a sense of safety to one of the nation’s most gay-friendly neighborhoods.
Fabio Cotza, a gay member of an interfaith Bronx church, said he looked around cautiously when he stepped out of the subway in Greenwich Village Monday evening to join the rally.
He said the killing “really makes me scared … especially since it happened in this area.”
His reaction was not unusual after a spate of bias attacks stirred up anxiety, disbelief and outrage even before 32-year-old Mark Carson was felled by a single gunshot to the head early Saturday near from the site of 1969 riots that helped give rise to the gay rights movement.
The crowd Monday carried flags and signs and chanted: “We’re here! We’re queer!” and “Homophobia’s got to go!”
Christine Quinn, the city’s first openly gay City Council speaker, marched along with Edie Windsor, whose pivotal case to win the same rights for gay couples as heterosexual couples is before the Supreme Court.
Carson was killed Saturday as he walked with a companion through the Village. Police say a man charged with murder as a hate crime shot Carson in the heart of one of the city’s most progressive neighborhoods.
Following the deadly shooting, officials said Monday that police would increase their presence there and in nearby neighborhoods through the end of June, Gay Pride Month.
A group that combats anti-gay violence planned to fan out to various areas on Friday nights through June to talk to people about safety. And public schools are being asked to hold assemblies or other discussions of hate crimes and bullying before summer break.
One of Carson’s aunts, Flourine Bompars, attended the march.
“The family would like to have justice be served, so that Mark’s death is not in vain,” she said at a rally at the march’s end.