The New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP) said Wednesday that it 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 and a bag over his head when his body was discovered.
In 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 stated 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 said it has recently received an increase in reports of community members experiencing violence in connection with online dating and hook-up sites and apps.
“We know that using online dating and hook up sites and apps happens, so we encourage our community members to use our online Safety Tips when using dating sites and apps,” said Ejeris Dixon, Deputy Director in charge of Community Organizing and Public Advocacy at the New York City Anti-Violence Project.