More than 100 people attended a candlelight vigil for Mark Carson, a 32-year-old gay black man who was shot and killed in Greenwich Village over the weekend. Carson’s death is being investigated by police as a hate crime after he was allegedly chased out of a restaurant by a man brandishing a gun and yelling homophobic slurs.
Carson’s friends and family shared their grief with the local press.
"I thought that kind of hate stuff was gone, but I see that it’s not," the victim’s father, Mark Carson Sr., told the New York Post. "It’s simply ridiculous. People are what people are. They do what they do. You can’t knock down who people are."
Carson’s brother, Michael Bumpars, told the New York Daily News described him as "a beautiful person…he was our foundation."
Kay Allen, a friend of Carson’s for more than a decade, told the New York Times: "He was a proud gay man. A fabulous gay man." She added that he loved going to the Village: "His spirit was too big for this city. He didn’t have a negative bone in his body."
Carson’s violent death has come as a shock for many in New York City’s iconic West Village. The area was home to the infamous Stonewall riots, the event largely credited with sparking the Gay Liberation Movement of the 1970’s. Blogger Joe.My.God. reported from last weekend’s rally and has photos from the event.
Thirty-three year old Elliot Morales has been arrested as a suspect in the crime. Gothamist reports that Carson’s death was the fourth hate crime targeting a gay man in the last two weeks in Manhattan, and the 22nd anti-gay attack so far in New York City this year.