A 36-year-old man has been found guilty of murder as a hate crime — along with other charges — for the fatal shooting of another man in 2013 on a Greenwich Village street.
Elliot Morales was found guilty of all counts against him, which included murder as a hate crime, criminal possession of a weapon, menacing a police officer and menacing.
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According to prosecutors, late at night on May 17, 2013 Morales had been urinating outside of a restaurant on Barrow Street in Greenwich Village when a restaurant employee scolded him. Morales then followed the employee into the restaurant, approached a few individuals at the bar and made threatening comments while taking out a .38-caliber revolver.
Then in the early morning of May 18, Morales left the restaurant and passed 32-year-old Mark Carson and his childhood best friend on the street near Sixth Avenue and West 8th Street, authorities said. As Morales passed the two men, he made homophobic and degrading remarks and walked along West 8th Street making more comments.
Then near the corner, prosecutors said, Morales took out a .38 Taurus revolver, pointed it at Carson and shot him once in the face — causing fatal brain damage.
“Gun violence and the hate that fuels it have no place in New York City,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. “Motivated by irrational rage, the defendant targeted and executed a defenseless young man based on his sexual orientation after taunting and insulting the victim and his companion.”
Morales fled the scene and minutes later was identified by an NYPD officer on West 3rd Street, according to authorities. The officer ordered Morales to stop but instead he crouched down, took out the handgun and pointed it at the officer.
Luckily, the police officer was able to subdue Morales as he fumbled with the gun, prosecutors said.
“Elliot Morales’s hateful and destructive rampage may not have stopped there, if not for the intervention of a brave NYPD officer,” Vance said. “When those intent on doing harm have access to guns, any situation can escalate to deadly levels in a matter of seconds.”
Morales is expected to be sentenced on April 11.