Two law enforcement officials confirmed with NBC News that a Manhattan grand jury has indicted several suspects in connection with the deaths of John Umberger and Julio Ramirez, two men who were drugged, robbed and killed in separate incidents following visits to New York City gay bars last year. One of the suspects, Shane Hoskins, was arraigned on felony larceny and identity theft charges.
The police have also asked for help finding Jayqwan Hamilton, Robert Demaio, and Jacob Barroso. The indictment does not name the other four suspects. The NYPD previously confirmed with NBC News that there are multiple groups of criminals committing these types of crimes against men visiting the city’s gay bars. Police also confirmed that comparable crimes were being committed against patrons of bars without any LGBTQ+ affiliation.
The two officials also told NBC News that the suspects are believed to be targeting victims for financial gain and not because of their sexual orientation. However, they added that the New York City Police Department’s Hate Crime Task Force is assisting in the investigation.
Last week, the New York City medical examiner’s office also confirmed that it is investigating “several additional deaths in similar circumstances” to those of Ramirez and Umberger. It is unclear, however, if they were found dead after visiting gay bars or whether they were connected to the indicted suspects.