NEW YORK — The New York police department is investigating the strangulation deaths of three gay men in Queens and Manhattan in recent weeks.
And while police said they didn’t believe the cases were related, at least one New York City lawmaker is warning gay men that a killer may be targeting them.
On Tuesday, City Councilman Daniel Dromm urged the LGBT community to use caution when meeting someone for the first time, and to use online dating services cautiously, reported the New York Daily News.
“It’s frightening,” said Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), who is openly gay. “I fear that there could be somebody out there targeting gay men.”
The latest victim was found strangled on Saturday at the Crown Motor Inn in Elmhurst, and has been identified as 54-year-old Joseph Benzinger.
On Jan. 26, David Rangel, 53, a Queens middles school teacher, was found dead at his Jackson Heights apartment; two days later, 48-year-old Charles Romo was found tied up with a bag over his head in his apartment in Hamilton Heights, Manhattan.
There were no signs of forced entry in any of the incidents, and police say that at least two of the victims may have met their attackers online.
Last October, Lou Rispoli, 62, a local gay rights leader, died from injuries sustained in a savage, early morning attack in Queens. Police are continuing to search for his murderer.