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Police Hunt Hit & Run Driver In Brooklyn Gay Attack


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Police Hunt Hit & Run Driver In Brooklyn Gay Attack

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

October 12, 2006 - 11:00 am ET

(New York City) Three young men have now been formally charged with assault and robbery as hate crimes in the brutal attack on a gay man lured to a secluded parking lot in Brooklyn.

John Fox, 19; Ilya Shurov, 20, and Gary Timmins, 16, were arrested Tuesday (story) and charged Wednesday night.

A fourth man is reportedly cooperating with police, presumably in return for a reduced charge.

Their victim, Michael Sandy, remains unconscious and on life support. If he dies police say the charges will be upgraded to murder.

Police allege that Fox and Shurov posed as gay men, cruising an Internet chat room looking for a mark to rob.

Sandy, an interior decorator whose family says he often used the chat lines to meet other men because his work kept him too busy for a social life, became that mark.

Chat messages between Sandy and the men were reportedly found on his home computer and a printout from his computer showing directions to Plum Beach, a popular cruising area, were found in his car.

Police allege that Sandy arranged to meet Fox on a street corner in Sheepshead Bay. The two then drove the short distance to the beach where the other three were waiting.

When the gang began beating him Sandy bolted for the nearby Belt Parkway with his attackers in close pursuit.

They caught up with him in one lane of the highway and as Sandy broke free he was struck by a car, sustaining massive injuries.

The attackers were last seen rifling through Sandy's pockets before fleeing.

The car did not stop and police are appealing for the driver to come forward. He'll likely be charged with failing to remain at the scene of an accident but could also provide valuable eyewitness account.

Sandy's family is maintaining a vigil at his bedside. Doctors at Brookdale Hospital say he may never regain consciousness, and that even if he does he may have permanent brain damage.

It is not certain whether race also played a role in the attack. Sandy is African American while the accused are all white

The National Black Justice Coalition, the nation's largest Black LGBT organization, issued a statement Thursday morning deploring the attack and praising police for the fast work in making arrests.

"We are pleased that police have arrested suspects in the case, and we expect that justice will be swift and appropriate," said NBJC CEO and Executive Director H. Alexander Robinson.

"However, hate crimes are still far too common in our country, and Black people are often the victims of these crimes," he added.

©365Gay.com 2006

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