Police say that the victim, Mark Carson, was walking with a friend down Sixth Avenue around midnight, when three Hispanic men began harassing him with anti-gay remarks. One or two of those three men then evidently recrossed paths with Carson a short while later, gunning Carson down at point-blank range outside of Gray's Papaya at West 8th Street and Sixth Avenue.
Police Commissione Ray Kelly told reporters that police are investigating the shooting as a hate crime.
According to police, the suspected shooter was seen urinating on the street outside Annisa, a West Village restaurant, earlier that evening. The man then went inside, made homophobic comments to the bartender, and showed the bartender his gun, telling employees that he was behind Sandy Hook and would shoot them too.
Upon leaving the restaurant, the suspect then apparently encountered Carson and his friend, asking them if they were "gay wrestlers."
"There was no words that would aggravate the situation spoken by the victims here. They were confronted," Kelly told reporters. "They did not know the perpetrators, no previous relationship."
A short while later, the gunman again confronted Carson, asking him, "Do you want to die here?" Carson was then shot once in the cheek with a .38 revolver at point-blank range. He was pronounced dead at Beth Israel Hospital.
"It was a quickie. He shot him and he went straight to the ground," a bouncer at a nearby club told the Daily Mail.
Police caught the suspected shooter about five blocks away from the crime scene and arrested him and two other men in connection with the shooting. Police say he appeared crazed and confessed to the shooting. But, according to reports, the suspect was carrying multiple fake IDs and police have not yet been able to identify him.