A candlelight vigil was held Thursday evening in Queens, New York for Anthony Santiago Collao, the 18-year-old who was viciously beaten with a pipe and stomped to death at a March 12 party on that same block. Coallo suffered massive blunt force trauma and died two days later.
Collao was not gay but the two young men who hosted the party were. Gang members tried to crash the party, began a melee and yelled anti-gay slurs. Collao was chased and brutally attacked.
Thursday's vigil was attended by "more than 100 people", including family, friends, neighbors, "city officials; representatives of Ecuador [and] members of the lesbian, gay and transgender community," reports YourNabe.com. "'An 18-year old lost his life because someone perceived him to be gay,' said Anna Maria Archila, of Make the Road, who spoke at the vigil. 'He dared to join a party organized by LGBT youth.'"
Detectives have arrested five suspects in connection with the deadly attack. One of the suspects is a juvenile. All are charged with manslaughter and assault. Hate crimes are pending. One suspect bragged about the assault on Facebook, police say.
The Collao case has eerie similarities to the December 2008 fatal beating of Jose Sucuzhañay in Brooklyn. The Ecuadorean immigrant was mistakenly believed to be gay and beaten to a pulp with an aluminum baseball bat. Sucuzhanay's brother Diego, who was injured in that attack, spoke at the Collao vigil. Collao's family are also Ecuadorean immigrants.
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