Two Gay Men Brutally Murdered in NYC

From the New York City Anti-Violence Project:

The New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP) has learned of two brutal murders of gay men in New York City that occurred over a three-day span of time.  Charles Romo, age 48, was found dead by his housekeeper on Monday morning, January 28 in his Hamilton Heights apartment in Manhattan.  He had been beaten and bound and was wearing only underwear when the body was discovered.  Today’s New York Post Police Blotter states that the police are looking into the possibility that one of the suspects was a lover of the victim.
RangelIn a separate homicide, David Rangel, a gay man age 53, was found dead in his apartment on Saturday, January 26 in Jackson Heights, Queens.  According to the  New York Daily News, medical examiners determined that Rangel had been choked to death.  The article states that the police are investigating Rangel’s death as a homicide and that it is believed that he may have met his assailant online.
“AVP is deeply concerned about these homicides and our condolences go out to the friends and loved ones of the victims.  We are looking into both of these homicides further to determine if they were hook-up or dating violence or if intimate partner violence played a role in either of these tragic deaths,” said Sharon Stapel, Executive Director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project.  “We want to make sure that LGBTQ people and all New Yorkers are aware of all forms of violence affecting our communities, including dating or pick up violence, and let them know about AVP’s safety information and support.”

The AVP also says that it has seen a noticeable increase in reports of violence connected with online dating hook-up sites and apps, and has posted a number of safety tips online.


  1. ratbastard says

    The body of Charles Romo, 48, was discovered in a kneeling position in the bedroom of his Hamilton Place apartment, bound at the legs by a belt, his mouth gagged and his head bloodied and wrapped in tape at 10:20 a.m. Monday. He was wearing only his underwear.

    Cops found the victim’s Seeing Eye dog, Ramses, guarding the body and took him to the ASPCA.

    The maid, who found Romo’s body, told police there were often strange men at the home.


  2. jamal49 says

    I didn’t know Charles Romo and may he rest in peace. But you could not have ever known a sweeter, gentler, kinder soul than David Rangel. This is so so sad. I think my heart might be breaking.

  3. arrant says

    This is just a hunch but I think the prevalence of using Tumblr sites to view porn has led to the mainstreaming of what were once more fringe practices like extreme BDSM, rape fantasies, breath-control, gun play, edge play etc. I visit a lot of Tumblr sites and have noticed that the same pics get passed around and posted in waves, and even the more ‘vanilla’ sites are starting to pick up and share violent images, i.e. ones where one guy is hurting/choking/beating/threatening the other whether in role play or not. It used to be that these sorts of fantasies were explored in a BDSM community that had clear rules about how to engage safely–and how to disengage before things got out of hand. Possibly now there are many new guys looking to push their limits before they even know what they are, and they are becoming prey to the most dangerous elements. Not saying that is what happened to Charles or David. Just that I have been surprised at how easy it is to be exposed to more and more violent images online without every specifically searching them out–and how quickly one becomes inured to seeing them, and possibly attracted to experiencing what they depict.

  4. Lars says

    So sad. Why do we inflict this kind of pain on ourselves?? Guys, please make it stop. Please don’t make yourself the next heartbreaking story. Online hookups are such a cheap substitute for what we’re all really looking for…

  5. ratbastard says

    Sad and depressing. No disrespect, but at least one of these gentlemen was into rough trade and his luck ran out this time. Whoever is into genuine rough trade, you’re playing with fire and your odds get steadily worse the more you hook up.

  6. Billy Crytical says

    These gay men are literally dying to have sex with heterosexual males. What is it going to take for gay men to be satisfied with other gay men? Gay men are easy targets for heterosexual males who want to commit murder that they think they can get away with.

  7. Gabe R L says

    @Billy Crytical
    You are mostly correct, but I have to ad that gay men are also often victims of self-loathing closet cases who murder the men they go to bed with.

  8. David Hearne says

    Lots of people like danger sex. Most straight men have enough sense to rent motel rooms and hire professionals. If you pick up trade, you are only fooling yourself. Which is not to say that there isn’t some decent hard working straight trade out there, there is. However since crack and meth came along, it’s much more of a crapshoot.

  9. Wow says

    “rough trade” ha! Gay men are such easy targets. Half the “rough trade” are queens who know what the queens like and the other half are straights guys who know gay men are easy targets who won’t fight back. Toss in some meth and it’s a wrap. Sad.

  10. FunMe says

    With online “dating” being the norm for sexual hookups and now being dangerous, perhaps the baths will have a resurgence. Are they still open? I gather they have cameras, so perhaps this is a safer venue?

    I don’t about the safety of online hookups, but the few times I’ve hooked up online, I always give the number of the person I’m meeting to a friend (in an email).

    ALWAYS be extra careful boys!

  11. Joe says

    I’m not commenting on the article. It’s disturbing for a lot of reasons. I may have talked to one of them once online, and it’s making it hit closer to home. May they both rest in peace, and my sympathy goes out to any friends and family who might be seeing this.

    The comments made me think, though. I’ve been in that world, the party drugs and sex. Not because I’m crazy about crystal and sex, but because that was the only time anyone ever spoke to me. I put up with the sex, and I learned (pretty quickly) to like the drugs. Soon, I *was* crazy about the drug and I stopped putting up with the sex.

    It didn’t take long before slamming before work was the norm, and I stopped hooking up altogether since I didn’t really need to talk to anyone anymore. I didn’t have friends before I started, and the friends I made while using weren’t really friends, though I did try once or twice, unsuccessfully, to bridge that gap.

    I’ve since quit. It’s been over six weeks, which I’m sure makes you chuckle, but that’s a long time for me. I don’t miss the drug, but I’m starting to miss people again. That worries me, because that’s why I started in the first place. Quitting has seemed too easy, so I’m sure something bad is about to happen.

    Before I got into that stuff, I had gone years without a date, and friends had dwindled from few to none. It’s easy to say: “Online hookups are such a cheap substitute for what we’re all really looking for…” But it’s not like a lot of the people who get into this stuff are comparing a fulfilling life of love with an empty life of drug-induced sex. It’s more like cheap sex and drugs vs. nothing. I accept responsibility for everything I did. I don’t blame ‘society’. I’m just asking that when you look at people in that life, you understand that they’re not necessarily coming at it the same way you might have.

    But, of course, some guys are fine in every way and just like crazy sex and copious drugs. More power to you. I don’t have any experience with that and won’t comment or make judgements. I’m not saying that we should differentiate mercy or tolerance based on why someone got started. That would be a moot point anyway. People who come out of that are so stigmatized that I’m not sure there is any real opportunity to move back into regular society anymore. Coming out as gay was easy. Coming out as HIV-positive? No sweat. This? There’s no way I would tell anyone who didn’t already know.

    I don’t know. I want to say it’s death by loneliness. Or neglect or something. But I don’t really believe in the concept of ‘gay community’. We’ve gone mainstream, and none of us really have any responsibility to look out for each other any more. I don’t know what any of us could possibly do to offer alternatives any way. Maybe nothing. Probably nothing. It’s just sad. One of those guys was in his 50s, the other in his 40s. I’m in my 30s. Guys in their 20s seem (seem?) to be more well-adjusted. Maybe the kids in the next generation will have something better to look forward to.

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