[Editor's Note: Victim was initially identified in the media as Edward Orozco. Now known his name was Ever Orozco]
Ever Orozco, 69, was murdered on 16 September because Steven Torres, 22, thought that the older man ‘blew kisses’ at him. Or, at least, that is what Torres is claiming.
Torres is facing second degree murder charges for the attack that happened beneath the elevated 7 train station at 90th Street and Roosevelt Avenue at around 1:30 pm. Orozco was assaulted while he was placing money in a parking meter. Initial witnesses reported that Torres attacked Orozco over a cell phone.
Local shop owner and witness to the assault Eddie De Jesus stated that “There was a lot of screaming, and all I could see was the guy was stabbing him — stabbing him and stabbing him.”
Julio Lobaton told reporters that “I really don’t know what to think. I’m just shaken because what happened to this poor guy…He was screaming, ‘Help me help me.’ I tried to intervene, but then he pulled a knife and started stabbing the guy on the floor.”
Witnesses attempted to apprehend Torres, who fled and was later arrested by police at 84th and Roosevelt Avenue.
Lobaton reported that, upon apprehention, Torres “was laughing, yes. He was laughing like nothing.” He is reported to have said nothing while attacking Orozco, who was later pronounced dead at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens.
The NYPD is also reporting that Torres has been charged in the stabbing of a second man on 12 September. Torres claims that the man he stabbed inside 9 Stanton Street near Bowery made sexual advances on him. The 47-year-old unnamed man survived his injuries.
Sharon Stapel, the Executive Director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project, stated that “We rarely see multiple anti-LGBT homicides in New York City in one year. Since May, we have seen homicides in the West Village, Harlem and Jackson Heights and we know that any neighborhood in New York City can be impacted by anti-LGBT violence. We are extremely concerned about this disturbing trend of violence against our communities.”
Anti-gay and anti-trans hate crimes have been on the rise in New York City in recent months. Those crimes have disproportionately hit the Black and Hispanic portions of the LGBT Community with many victims being Black or Hispanic.
Across the US, anti-LGBT crimes have been on the rise over the last year, especially after the US Supreme Court’s ruling striking down Section 2 of the Defense of Marriage Act.
Despite past instances of ‘gay panic’ defenses working, those have become riskier claims to be made and have been less effective in recent years as LGBT acceptance has spread.