In connection with the deaths of two men who were drugged, robbed, and slain in separate events after visits to gay bars in New York City last year, police named three suspects late on Friday.
The New York City Police Department is requesting the public’s help locating Jayqwan Hamilton, 35, Robert Demaio, 34, and Jacob Barroso, 30, whom they suspect of being involved in the killings of Julio Ramirez, 25, and John Umberger, a 33-year-old political consultant.
According to authorities, all of the suspects mentioned reside in the city. Umberger and Ramirez were found dead this spring after visiting homose*ual pubs in the city’s vibrant Hell’s Kitchen area.
According to their family members, before their bank accounts were emptied of thousands of dollars using face recognition access on their phones, each had left the bars with at least one unknown individual.
Numerous substances, including fentanyl, lidocaine, and cocaine, were discovered in their systems. The medical examiner’s office declared their deaths homicides from a “drug-facilitated theft” last month.
According to an NYPD official, Hamilton, Demaio, and Barroso are suspects in a larger “citywide robbery pattern,” which encompasses a total of 17 occurrences.
The crimes, which include the robberies and deaths of Ramirez and Umberger, took place between September 19, 2021, and August 28, 2022, according to the spokeswoman.
A Manhattan grand jury has indicted numerous people concerning the deaths of Umberger and Ramirez, according to two law enforcement sources who spoke with NBC News on Wednesday.
Shane Hoskins, one of the suspects, was charged with felony robbery and identity theft on Thursday, according to the prosecution. The other four suspects are not identified in the indictment.
According to the indictment, the accused had a pattern of approaching people outside of Manhattan pubs or clubs, striking up a discussion with them, and giving or slipping them drugs “to induce their incapacitation.”
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Once the victims were “incapacitated to the extent that their ability to perceive events became diminished,” the five co-conspirators would then steal their victims’ cell phones and credit cards and use the physical cards and information stored on the victims’ phones to transfer money to themselves and make purchases, according to the indictment.
The suspects are thought to be targeting victims for financial gain rather than because of their sexual orientation, the two authorities also revealed to NBC News.
They did, however, note that the Hate Crime Task Unit of the New York City Police Department is supporting the inquiry.
Other LGBT New Yorkers came forward with eerily similar tales to those of Ramirez and Umberger in the months following their deaths. From December 2021 to October 2022, according to several gay males interviewed by NBC News, such events were avoided.
Numerous gangs of criminals carry out these kinds of attacks on guys attending the city’s homose*ual bars, the NYPD previously told NBC News.
Authorities also acknowledged that similar offenses were being perpetrated against patrons of bars that had nothing to do with the LGBTQ community.
Also confirming that it is looking into “many additional deaths in comparable circumstances” to those of Ramirez and Umberger on Wednesday was the New York City medical examiner’s office.
Yet it’s not known if they were discovered dead after going to homose*ual bars or if they had any connection to the accused individuals.
According to a representative, the medical examiner’s office declined to speak further because of the ongoing criminal investigations.
The two law enforcement officers also revealed to NBC News that a different group is thought to have committed comparable crimes on 26 victims.
According to the authorities, one of the victims of the following group was fashion designer Kathryn Marie Gallagher, whose death in July was determined by the medical examiner’s office to be a drug-facilitated homicide.
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