NYC Hate Crime Victim Dies
December 15, 2008 by Bryan
An Ecuadorean immigrant viciously beaten by men who yelled anti-Hispanic and anti-gay slurs at him and his brother has died, nearly a week after the attack, a family spokesman said Saturday.
Jose Sucuzhanay died late Friday at Elmurst Hospital as his mother was en route from Ecuador to see him, spokesman Francisco Moya said. Sucuzhanay, a 31-year-old real estate broker, had been listed in critical condition since the assault early on Dec. 7.
Police were searching for three suspects in the attack, which has outraged the City Council speaker and other political leaders. The New York Police Department’s hate crime task force is investigating what prosecutors have called an appalling eruption of bigotry.
Sucuzhanay (suh-KOO-chen-eye) and his brother Romel, 38, were walking arm-in-arm after a night out when a sport utility vehicle pulled up near them at a Brooklyn stoplight, police said.
Witnesses said they heard the men in the car shouting anti-gay and anti-Hispanic slurs at the brothers. The attackers jumped out of the car and smashed a beer bottle over Jose Sucuzhanay’s head, hit him in the head with an aluminum baseball bat and kicked him, police said. Romel Sucuzhanay was able to get away; the attackers drove off after he returned and said he had called police, authorities said.
A third brother, Diego Sucuzhanay, said he was “at a loss beyond words” after his brother’s death.
“This is a wake-up call and shows how far we still must come to address the devastating problem of hate crimes in our communities,” he said in a statement.
Family members and advocates planned a press conference Sunday to urge authorities to find the assailants.
“You never think that this is something that you’d see here,” Moya said. “He was a hardworking, successful businessman who cared a lot for his family and the people who worked for him… (and was) targeted for just the way he looks.”