Elliot Morales is being held without bail in Carson’s death. He hasn’t yet entered a plea, and his lawyer didn’t immediately return a call Monday.
The city and especially the Village have long been beacons for gay people. The gay rights movement crystallized in the Village in June 1969, when a police raid at the Stonewall Inn touched off a riot and demonstrations that came to symbolize gays’ resistance to being relegated to society’s shadows.
Yet gay-bashing has continued to flare up in New York at times in recent years. In one particularly sinister case, three men connected with a 28-year-old man online in 2006, lured him to a rest stop off a Brooklyn highway with a promise of a date and mugged him, chasing him into traffic; he was hit and killed.
In 2010, authorities said Bronx gang members beat and tortured four people in an anti-gay rage, two men were accused of a gay-bashing beating at the Stonewall Inn itself and a man spewed homophobic insults while throwing a punch at another Village bar — all assaults that happened within little more than a week.
Police say there has been a rise in bias-related crimes overall so far this year, to 22 from 13 during the same period last year. The New York City Anti-Violence Project, a nonprofit group that tracks police and other reports of hate attacks against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, says its numbers rose 13 percent in 2011 and 11 percent the previous year.
But officials and advocates can’t pinpoint a reason for the recent rash of attacks or even whether it reflects more violence or more aggressive reporting of incidents.
Advocates see such attacks in the context of a culture that has grown more accepting of gays in some ways — 12 states have now legalized gay marriage — but doesn’t universally ban discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Carson’s shooting came after other attacks fueled by anti-gay animus in recent weeks, authorities say. Those include a report last month of a man making anti-gay remarks and attacking a woman with a ketchup bottle at a Village diner; a man told police he and a friend were victims of a gay bashing outside a subway station in Midtown Manhattan this month; and two men walking arm-in-arm near Madison Square Garden report being jumped by a group of men on May 5, police said.
“This happened in Midtown, during the day, with a ton of people around,” one of the victims, Nick Porto, wrote in a Facebook posting. “… When are we safe?”