By Maurice Pinzon
Saturday afternoon, standing next to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn in City Hall, New York Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly announced the apprehension of an eighth suspect in the attacks that targeted three men, that the alleged perpetrators perceived as gay.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg characterized the attacks as “brutal torture.” adding “torture really is the only word that comes to mind.”
According to Police Commissioner Kelly, the arrests came swiftly in a “full court press,” after the Police Department learned of the true nature of the crimes. Commissioner Kelly said, “it was initially investigated as a robbery because the victims were not fully forthcoming at first.”
But after it became clear to investigators they were dealing with bias crimes, the Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force was put in charge of the investigation. With scores of detectives from the Special Victims Division, seven suspects were apprehended Thursday night and on Friday morning. Those arrested are: Idelfonzo Mendez, 23. David Rivera, 21. Bryan Almonte, 17. Steven Carballo, 17. Nelson Falu, 17. Denis Peitars, 17. Elin Brayon Cepeda, 16.
The suspects in the attacks, which took place on Sunday October 3, now face charges of unlawful imprisonment, abduction, assault, robbery, sodomy, menacing and hate crimes.
At the 5pm City Hall news conference Commissioner Kelly announced: “An eighth suspect surrendered to detectives in the Bronx, he is Elmer Confresi, he is a male 23 years of age. He goes by the street name of ‘Macho’.”According to Commissioner Kelly, Mr. Confresi turned himself into the 43rd precinct detective squad with an attorney.
Commissioner Kelly in answering a question from a reporter said the suspects, “have made statements implicating themselves in this crime.”
Commissioner Kelly said that leaves one suspect at large, Rudy Vargas-Perez, 22, a resident of the Bronx. As detectives continue their search for Mr. Vargas-Perez, Commissioner Kelly urged him to turn himself in and asked anyone with information to call 1-800-577-TIPS. Mr. Vargas-Perez apparently had agreed through his attorney to turn himself in but has not done so as of Saturday.
Earlier in the day at a morning news conference in the Bronx, Speaker Quinn also urged the suspects to turn themselves into the police. Speaker Quinn was joined at the news conference by Council member Fernando Cabrera, who represents the Bronx district where the attacks took place. Governor David Paterson and other elected officials, Bronx community leaders and members of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) groups were also in attendance.
After the news conference Speaker Quinn and the elected officials walked along a shopping district around the corner from the abandoned house on Osborne street where the attacks took place, handing out leaflets and speaking to residents urging them to also call the 1-800-577-TIPS hotline with any information about the crime.