NYC Police Arrest 9th Suspect In Anti-Gay Beatings

(Source: AP) NEW YORK — Police on Monday arrested the ninth and final suspect in the brutal attacks on four people that authorities believe were touched off because gang members thought one of their recruits was gay. Ruddy Vargas-Perez, 22, was arrested by members of the Bronx violent felony squad at a relative's house after his attorney had told authorities he would be surrendering to police on Tuesday. He previously failed to show up as promised. Vargas-Perez and eight others were accused of robbery, harassment and sexual abuse after the Oct. 3 attacks. Police say he participated in at least one of the attacks along with the others from his street gang, the Latin King Goonies. Vargas-Perez was in custody at a police precinct Monday. His attorney's name wasn't known. "He's innocent of all the charges," his aunt, Nancy Perez, said in Spanish when reached by phone on Monday night. "He was raised in a loving family." She denied he was a member of a gang and said her nephew works in construction. The beatings in the Bronx, and the recent string of anti-gay attacks and teen suicides elsewhere attributed to homophobic bullying, have drawn outraged responses from city and state leaders and gay advocates. Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the attacks "completely unacceptable" in prepared remarks before a Monday night dinner for Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Three of the gang members saw their 17-year-old recruit coming out of an apartment occupied by a 30-year-old man known throughout the neighborhood as "La Reina." It was well-known that the man was gay, and the three wanted to know why the teen was at his apartment, authorities said. They took the teen to a nearby abandoned apartment they used as a hangout and for parties at about 3:30 a.m. Oct. 3 and beat him until he confessed he had a sexual encounter with the man, police said.