Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Another Latino gay man murdered

Alfredo Gonzalez, a friend, alerted me to yet another murder of a Latino gay man in this city:

On Saturday, afraid that something was wrong when his boyfriend Oswaldo Hernández did not return his calls, Julio Torres made his way from New Jersey to Oswaldo's apartment in Washington Heights. He called 911 when nobody answered the knocks on the door. When police arrived and entered the apartment, El Diaro La Prensa reports that the police found the 51 year old hair dresser "stabbed 12 times in the chest and neck, laying in his bathtub at 560 W 183rd Street around 11:22 at night." Nothing had been stolen.

A neighbor says that he saw Mr. Torres crying and shaken up after seeing the body of his lover "covered by a blanlet and shielding his face with his hands and lifted elbows." (The New York Times actually reports that Mr. Torres made his way into the apartment before the police got there and that the killer might have "escaped through a rear window and dropped approximately 12 feet to the ground").

According to Alfredo, the neighbor collected enough money to bury Mr. Hernández on Sunday - though attempts to reach his family in Venezuela failed (rumors are that Mr. Hernández was Colombian but that his family lived in Venezuela).

Neigbors said that the burial mass was "amazing" and that women "grabbed on to Mr. Hernández body and spoke to him, men cried... many were dressed in white as is common in [the religious tradition of] Santería, many proclaimed that Mr. Hernández had saved their marriage [through his advice] and spoke of other favors he had given them."

Neighbors also said that as the hearse went by the neighborhood people waited for it to pass, some with flowers, others crying out loud.

According to Alfredo, "I think this contradicts and complicates the stereotypical ideas about homophobia in Latino communities."

Rumors also indicate that police have caught the murderer(s) but so far I have not seen any reports corroborating this fact. I'll run updates if they come my way.

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