Police are reporting that a stranger attacked a man at a Bronx subway station on Friday, hitting him with a hammer and throwing him onto the tracks while shouting homophobic slurs.
The incident occurred at the Tremont Avenue station just after 1 a.m., according to the New York Daily News. The assailant, who was not known to the victim, reportedly shouted anti-gay epithets before swinging the hammer. The suspect then grabbed the victim and shoved him onto the tracks, before fleeing the scene.
The 21-year-old victim climbed back onto the platform with minor injuries, which included a cut to his forehead. Police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
It’s the second homophobic attack in New York in recent weeks. In September, two men were assaulted by a group of young men who targeted them with slurs in Astoria, Queens. That incident occurred at the restaurant Pollos Mario on Roosevelt Avenue, located in a neighborhood frequented by LGBTQ+ people.
The restaurant drew criticism for its failure to help the victims during the attack. Instead of calling for help or offering assistance, the victims say a security guard told them to finish eating and leave. But a restaurant spokesperson said staff tried to break up the fight.
Hate crimes targeting LGBTQ+ people are on the rise across the country, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigations. And a study by the U.S. Census Bureau found that hate crimes are drastically underreported to the FBI, indicating that the problem may be far more dire than available data suggests.
New York recently banned the use of gay and trans “panic” defenses, preventing assailants from claiming in court that a fear of LGBTQ+ people motivated them to violence.