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Police: Suspects made anti-gay comments before stabbing man in Hell's Kitchen

2 assaults in Hell's Kitchen under investigation
2 assaults in Hell's Kitchen under investigation 01:46

NEW YORK -- Police are investigating a possible hate crime after a group of people allegedly yelled gay slurs and stabbed a man in Hell's Kitchen

According to the NYPD, at around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, a 44-year-old man was approached by a group of seven suspects making anti-gay statements. The man was punched in the face, kicked and stabbed in the left leg, police said. 

"When he went to defend himself, he was attacked by the group," said New York City Council Member Erik Bottcher, who represents Hell's Kitchen. 

Security video from a business on Tenth Avenue near West 43rd Street shows the man with bloodied jeans and two people appearing to tighten a tourniquet. 

Police investigating possible anti-gay hate crime in Hell's Kitchen 02:04

"He was, like, lost, you know. It happened so quick, and the blood was everywhere," said Richie Friendly, a good Samaritan who found the victim bleeding on the ground.

He and a friend helped the victim inside Mr. Biggs Bar on the corner, where they made a makeshift tourniquet for the victim's leg until an ambulance arrived.

"I said, just slow your breathing down, let's get to the bar. We sat him down," Friendly said. "He was panicking ... I said, got you brother."

"This report is so upsetting given what is going on in this country with the attacks on the LGBTQ community. The druggings and robberies of gay men in New York City, the attacks on drag story hour and so much of the hateful rhetoric," Bottcher said. 

Councilman Bottcher "angry" to learn about Hell's Kitchen stabbing 03:29

"Our community is not going to be cowed by this type of intimidation," said State. Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal, who represents the West Side. "It's incredibly upsetting that a group of individuals would come to Hell's Kitchen, one of the most prominent LGBTQ neighborhoods in the city, maybe the entire world, and attack someone possibly because they are LGBTQ." 

"Preliminary reports say that a person was walking down the street and was subjected to an anti-LGBTQ slur while walking down the street. And when the person stood up for himself, he was attacked by this group of young people, and a stabbing was involved," Bottcher told CBS2. 

The man was taken to Mount Sinai in stable condition and is expected to be OK. 

"Knowing that somebody was stabbed right outside my apartment is alarming. It's a very LGBT friendly neighborhood, so knowing that it's a possible hate crime is scary," said Jake Yedid.

The suspects fled the scene. Their whereabouts and identities are unknown.

NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force investigating Hell's Kitchen stabbing 01:44

Just five minutes before the stabbing and around the corner on 44th Street, surveillance video shows a group of seven people, dressed almost identical to the stabbing suspects. There, they approach a 24-year-old man on the sidewalk, and one of them punches him in the back of the head.

"He had no warning whatsoever about what was gonna happen and didn't see anybody until it actually happened," said Tony Willging, a friend of the victim.

The victim did not want to go on camera, as he fears for his safety. Willging helped him call police after the assault.

"It seems once they saw a guy who was alone by himself, they targeted him," Willging said.

We're told that victim is expected to be OK.

CBS2 asked the department if they believe these two incidents are related, but at this hour, that's still unclear.

Earlier this week, police arrested two people in connection with the killings of two men last spring. Their deaths sparked fear in the prominent gay community after they were found robbed, drugged and murdered following a night of partying last spring. 

"All this [anti-LGBTQ] language has consequences, and what's particularly saddening to me is the possibility that it might have been teenagers who committed this, because they are consuming this online rhetoric and seeing what's going on and it manifests itself in the real world," said Bottcher. 

Anyone with information about this latest attack is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via their website or via DM on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential. 

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