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Police Investigate Hate Crime, Victim Remains On Life Support

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TWC News: Police Investigate Hate Crime, Victim Remains On Life Support
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Police are calling an attack on a pair of Brooklyn brothers over the weekend a hate crime.

Investigators said 31-year-old Jose Sucuzhanay was walking home with his brother Romel early Sunday morning when one of them stopped to give the other his coat at the intersection of Kossuth Place and Bushwick Avenue.

That's when investigators said a group of men jumped out of an SUV and beat them with a glass bottle and baseball bat while yelling anti-gay and anti-Latino slurs.

Romel was not seriously hurt, but Jose was taken to the hospital where he is on life support.

"My brother is in critical condition. He has to go through brain surgery. He's okay there. But right now he's not moving, he's not talking, he's in very critical condition. And we hope he will recover," said Sucuzhanay.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said, "There's no indication that they had any previous contact with the victims. So it clearly appears to be a hate crime based on ethnicity and perceived sexual orientation."

City council members, church leaders and borough lawmakers held a joint news conference Monday to denounce the violence.

"All of this happened simply just because of who these individuals are and who these perpetrators perceived them to be," said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. "For some reason, these four individuals didn't like two men they believed they were gay, who were Ecuadorian walking on the street. They were so emboldened by hatred that they acted it out in violence."

Members of the Ecuadorian community are planning a vigil for Jose at the hospital Tuesday to show their support and to send a message.

"We want to shed light to the community that if they are attacked or they do get picked on or if they are being harrassed that they should come forward that they shouldn't be afraid," said a community leader.

So far, no arrests have been made. Anyone with information is being asked to call the crime stopper hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS, by texting TIP 577 to CRIMES or by going to NYPDCrimeStoppers.com.

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