A homeless man was charged in New York City last night in an attack on a well-known promoter in the Philadelphia gay nightlife scene.
Gornell Roman, 39, allegedly beat Dan Contarino, 45, who moved last year to New York from the Philadelphia area.
Roman was charged with assault as a hate crime, and aggravated harassment as a hate crime, according to New York City Police Lt. John Grimpel. Roman surrendered to police, but as of Wednesday afternoon not been arraigned.
According to police, the two men know each other and were living at the Bowery Mission Transition Center at East 4th St. and Avenue D.
Grimpel said the two men had been drinking elsewhere when they entered into a “conversation about homosexuality” sometime around 10 p.m. Monday. Roman apparently became angry, began shouting anti-gay statements and began to beat Contarino.
Attempts to reach Contarino were unsuccessful. However, he posted about the attack on Facebook.
“Thanks for the calls … Gay bashed last night,” Contarino wrote in all capital letters.
He continued: “Back from small surgery … chest xrays this am …suspect still at large … police n media waiting to interview me … u just wanna cry n move on.”
Contarino spoke with WABC in New York, and said, “It’s very sad, but I’m lucky I’m alive.”
Contarino, originally from Mullica Hill in South Jersey, was profiled several years ago in the Philadelphia Gay News as "the mastermind" behind a series of successful parties at Shampoo Nightclub, and creator of almost 1,000 other events that raised money for charity.
Bruce Yelk, a friend of Contarino’s in Philadelphia, blogged about the incident yesterday.
“Shock, outrage, anger sums up how I am feeling today as one of my very good friends was gay bashed last night in New York City,” Yelk wrote in his blog. “Dan Contarino, former promoter of Shampoo Nightclub's "Shaft" Fridays, was jumped last night at Avenue D & 4th Street. Allegedly, witnesses are reporting the assailant was yelling'"f*ggot' as he was kicking and beating Dan.”
“I talked with Dan last night and this morning and he is very shaken and as you can see by the photo banged up pretty good,” the blog post said.
The incident comes on the heels of the murder of Mark Carson, 32, who was shot to death Sunday in the West Village in Manhattan in an apparent anti-gay hate crime.
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