Late Wednesday night, Mayor Bloomberg announced that the NYPD has made an arrest in the brutal murder of Ecuadorean immigrant Jose Sucuzhanay (left), who was beaten to death in Brooklyn two months ago when assailants mistook Jose and his brother for gay lovers because they were walking arm in arm. Hakeem Scott, 25, has confessed to the murder, but his accomplice is still at large.
Police are looking for his alleged accomplice, Keith Phoenix [Below right]. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said his detectives were able to make the bust thanks to good old fashioned police work. They tracked a Ford Explorer witnesses at the scene described. Not long after the attack surveillance video from the Triboro Bridge toll plaza showed Phoenix and Scott in an Explorer driving to their homes in the Bronx. Witnesses helped police track down the SUV, and through a prior accident report Phoenix was identified as a suspect and then linked to Scott, Kelly said. The investigation eventually led them to Scott, who has a lengthy rap sheet, including arrests for assault, robbery and weapons possession. Scott was apprehended without incident near his residence on East 161st Street in the Bronx on Tuesday.
As you may recall, I covered this horrible story extensively and attended the memorial march and vigil for Jose in Brooklyn. We should all congratulate the NYPD for their diligent work. And we should also thank the leaders of NYC’s LGBT and immigrant activism groups for working together on this case to demand swift justice. Mayor Bloomberg: “In this city there is no such thing as a second-class citizen. There is one and only one standard of justice for all New Yorkers, immigrant and native-born. Anyone who commits a hate crime, we will not rest until we arrest them.”