NYPD: Gang Targeted Gay Men in Vicious Attack

Police busted seven members of a street gang known as the "Latin King Goonies" in the brutal bias attacks of two teens and two men, some of whom are gay, MyFoxNY reported Friday.

The attack occured last weekend in the Bronx, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said that several of the suspects had made statements implicating themselves in the crime, which occurred in a neighborhood where residents said homosexuality is both common and tolerated.

Asked if the men had expressed any remorse for what they had done, Kelly said "I wouldn't call it remorse."

Members of a street gang reportedly discovered one of their recruits was gay, so they attacked the teen, brutally beating and torturing him and two other people in gruesome assaults last Sunday, police said Friday.

The suspects, ranging in age from 16 to 23, are charged with assault, unlawful imprisonment, sodomy, and menacing as hate crimes.

The suspects arrested Thursday and Friday were identified as Ildefonzo Mendez, 23; David Rivera, 21; four 17-year-olds, Steven Caraballo, Denis Peitars, Nelson Falu and Bryan Almonte; and Brian Cepeda, 16. All face charges including robbery, assault and unlawful imprisonment as hate crimes; Mendez, Rivera and Falu were additionally charged with committing a criminal sex act.

The eighth suspect, Elmer Confresi, 23, of the Bronx, turned himself in on Saturday. Kelly said that a lawyer representing the ninth suspect had arranged for his client to turn himself in, but never showed.

The recruit, 17-year-old male, was forced into an unoccupied apartment early Sunday morning. He was beaten and sodomized with the wooden handle of a plunger, Kelly said. The attackers shouted anti-gay slurs during the attack, Kelly said.

About two hours later, the teen was eventually released and told not to tell anyone. He walked to a hospital where he was treated, but he reported his injuries were due to a robbery.

Using information obtained from their interrogation of the recruit, a second 17-year-old was beaten and robbed of his jewelry in the same apartment on Sunday evening, , according to Kelly.

The second teen was assaulted at about 8:30 p.m. Sunday, police said. The 30-year-old arrived about an hour later with Four Loko, a malt liquor beverage, thinking he was going to a party. He was stripped to his underwear and tied to a chair opposite the other teen, who was forced by the angry mob to burn the man with cigarettes, police said. They beat the 30-year-old, forced him to drink copious amounts of the liquor he brought, and sodomized him with a small baseball bat, Kelly said.

The man was beaten for hours, a suspect said, and then was dumped at his brother's home. That is where the suspects beat and robbed the man's brother.

"These suspects deployed terrible, wolf pack odds of nine against one, which revealed them as predators whose crimes were as cowardly as they were despicable," Kelly said Friday at a news conference.

Police are searching for two other men in the attacks.

"These anti-LGBT hate crimes are vile, horrifying and unforgivable. These attacks are appalling and are even more despicable because the victims were clearly targeted in acts of hate simply because they are gay," Council Speaker Christine Quinn said in a statement. "The cowardly few who committed these crimes do not represent New Yorkers and our community will not be cowed by such violence."

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he was "sickened" by the violence, that police said included sodomizing one of the men with a plunger handle and hourslong torture of others. The attack came amid heightened attention to anti-gay bullying following a string of teen suicides attributed to it last month around the country.

"Like many New Yorkers, I was sickened by the brutal nature of these crimes and saddened by the anti-gay bias that contributed to them," the mayor said. "The heartless men who committed these crimes should know that their fellow New Yorkers will not tolerate their vicious acts, or the hatred that fuels them."

The Associated Press and MyFoxNY contributed to this report.

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