Around lunchtime last Monday a 69-year-old man was stabbed to death on Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights, police said. The suspect told police he stabbed the victim because he thought the man was gay.
Ever Orozco was allegedly putting money in a parking meter on 90th Street when he was approached by Steven Torres of the Bronx.
Orozco had just dropped his wife off at her doctor’s office, according to Borough President Helen Marshall, who gave her condolences to the family and decried all hate crimes, when Torres allegedly approached and stabbed Orozco.
Torres fled. Several undercover police officers who were stationed on the elevated No. 7 train at the 90th Street stop heard screaming and chased the suspect down the avenue. He was apprehended a few blocks from where the stabbing occurred, officials said.
He was charged with murder with the intent to kill as a hate crime and criminal possession of a weapon.
Torres claimed Orozco blew kisses and made passes at him before he allegedly stabbed the victim, officials said.
According to a release some witnesses saw Orozco blowing a kiss at his wife.
Torres has also been charged with assault as a hate crime in connection with an earlier, nonfatal stabbing of his 47-year-old co-worker that happened Thursday on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Police believe this earlier stabbing was also motivated by Torres’ belief that the victim was gay, Marshall said.
The earlier incident was not immediately reported because of the victim’s illegal immigration status, according to politicians, who held a press conference on Wednesday morning where the murder took place, to denounce the crime.
“Whether a person is gay or perceived to be gay, the gay panic defense does not hold any water,” said openly gay Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) said. “If Steven Torres or anyone else out there believes that citing their victim’s sexuality somehow justifies their crimes, they are sorely mistaken.”
Recently, the American Bar Association formally voted to curtail the use of the “gay panic” defense.
“With respect to the hate crime,” Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-Corona) said, “I want to make it clear that we will not tolerate intolerance of any kind in our community. There is absolutely no justification for assaulting an innocent person just because you believe they may identify as LGBT.”
“The gruesome murder of Ever Orozco in broad daylight yesterday in Elmhurst, based on the perception of his sexual orientation, is shocking and deeply saddening,” Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights) said.
Orozco of Woodside was pronounced dead at Elmhurst Hospital shortly after the incident.