July 9, 2008
4 Teenagers Are Arrested in Attack at Gay Shelter
By CHRISTINE HAUSER
Four teenagers have been arrested on charges that they harassed and struck a
priest who runs a Queens shelter for transgender and gay youth. Some of the
shelter's residents were also attacked, officials said on Tuesday.
The victims had minor injuries, the police said.
The priest, the Rev. Louis Braxton Jr., said he was returning to the
shelter, Carmen's Place, on Steinway Street in Astoria, about 10:30 on
Monday night when he saw a group of youths hit a resident on the head with a
bag of garbage.
Father Braxton, an Episcopal priest who is the shelter's director, said he
shouted at the attackers and they fled. But four youths returned soon after
holding a paint bucket, a miter box, steel brackets and a belt. By then
other shelter residents had gathered outside, Father Braxton said.
Two residents of Carmen's Place argued with the four and were punched in the
face and body, Kevin Ryan, a spokesman for the Queens district attorney's
Father Braxton was treated for minor cuts and bruises at Mount Sinai
Hospital of Queens, the police said.
Father Braxton said the group used obscenities and homophobic and
anti-transgender slurs. He met with detectives from the Police Department's
Hate Crimes Unit on Tuesday to discuss safety concerns.
"We have had other attacks like this from kids in the neighborhood," he
said. "People pushing the kids, throwing things at them, at least once a
Helen Peterson, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office, said that
"hate crime charges are being investigated."
Three of the suspects were identified by the police as Shara Mozie, 17, and
Tyreek Childs, 17, both of 24th Street, and Trevaughn Payne, 16, of 34th
Avenue, all in Queens.
A police officer said that he saw Mr. Mozie strike Father Braxton on the
face with a metal object, according to the district attorney's office.
The name of the fourth suspect, a 15-year-old boy, was not released because
he will likely be charged as a juvenile, Mr. Ryan said.
The three teenagers faced assault, weapons and harassment charges, Mr. Ryan
said. The most-serious count, the assault charge, is a misdemeanor, he said.