NYPD Makes Arrest in Hate Crime Killing of Ecuadorean Man
Police say they have made an arrest in the murder of Jose Sucuzhañay, the Ecuadorean immigrant whose life was taken in a brutal anti-gay, anti-Hispanic attack in Brooklyn in early December:
"The NYPD had been searching for three suspects in the attack, which drew outrage from the City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and other political leaders. The NYPD's Hate Crime Task Force was investigating what prosecutors called an appalling eruption of bigotry. Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on Wednesday night that police had arrested Hakeem Scott, 25, of the Bronx and were looking for a second suspect."
There is a $22,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the second suspect, Keith Phoenix, who police say was behind the wheel of the van.
The NYT reports: "Mr. Scott was led from the 90th Precinct station house in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to be booked about 9:30 on Wednesday night He kept his head down and his eyes closed and ignored questions from reporters. The night of the killing, several people reported the attack by calling 911, and as the attackers fled, a taxi driver wrote the license plate number of their vehicle on a napkin. It belonged to a woman who was later determined to be Mr. Phoenix’s companion, the police said. But detectives were unable to link Mr. Phoenix to the vehicle until they found that he had been involved in a crash with the vehicle on Oct. 20. Investigators then obtained background information on Mr. Phoenix, who fit the description given by witnesses, and learned that he had a criminal record. Detectives mapped “the most likely route of flight from the crime scene to the Bronx,” [Police commissioner Raymond] Kelly said, and surmised that Mr. Phoenix and Mr. Scott fled over the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. Surveillance cameras from the bridge, formerly the Triborough, had video records of Mr. Phoenix driving the vehicle through a cash-only lane at 3:47 a.m., 19 minutes after the attack, officials said. The police then learned of Mr. Phoenix’s association with Mr. Scott. In fact, he had used Mr. Scott’s name as an alias in the past, they said. Investigators located Mr. Scott on Tuesday on East 161st Street in the Bronx near his home at 3204 Park Avenue...[Brookyln DA Charles] Hynes said a grand jury had been convened in the case and would decide the charges. 'The sad part of this case for me is that these two brothers were apparently caressing each other because they were cold on the way home and the cretins that were charged with the attack mistook them for gay people,' Mr. Hynes said."
(top right image, NYT)