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Slain immigrant's brother hopes for hate-crime legacy

  • Story Highlights
  • Police say attackers shouted racial slurs during beating of Jose Sucuzhanay
  • Brother says victim will be remembered as "a victim of a hate crime"
  • Killing was second recent death of Ecuadorian in possible New York hate crime
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From Susan Candiotti
CNN
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Mourning relatives say they hope a slain Latino immigrant can become a symbol against hate crimes.

Jose Sucuzhanay was kept on life support but died hours before his mother arrived from Ecuador.

New York City police are still hunting for suspects in the killing of Ecuadorian Jose Sucuzhanay, who died Friday, five days after he was hit in the head with a bottle and beaten with a baseball bat.

Police say racial slurs were yelled during the attack in Brooklyn.

Sucuzhanay's brother, Diego Sucuzhanay, told CNN his brother would always be remembered as a victim of a hate crime and that it was time for them and others to speak out.

"Our brother wanted to make history when he died. And he did already, we should be proud of him, [despite] the way he died, we should be proud of him," he said.

Hundreds of people marched Sunday through the Brooklyn neighborhood where Sucuzhanay was attacked, carrying signs saying "no more hate crimes." Video Watch marchers protest against hate crimes »

Another Ecuadorian immigrant was killed last month in Long Island, 50 miles from Brooklyn. A teenager has been charged with first-degree murder as a hate crime in the death of Marcello Lucero, 37, who police said was stabbed in the chest as he walked to a friend's apartment.

Family spokesman Francisco Moya said Jose Sucuzhanay, 31, had lived in the United States for more than a decade and was a legal resident.

Diego Sucuzhanay said Jose set up a successful real estate business in a low-income area, thinking he could make a difference there.

He said his brother wanted to help everyone and hired a diverse team, including four African-Americans and two Latinos. He was raising two children: a 9-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter.

Sucuzhanay died of his injuries Friday at Elmhurst Hospital, hours before his mother arrived in New York from Ecuador, his family said.

Police said Jose Sucuzhanay and his brother Romel had left a party at a church when several men approached them in a car in Brooklyn's Bushwick section, about a block from the brothers' home, on December 7. The men shouted anti-gay and anti-Latino vulgarities and attacked the brothers, police said.

Romel, 34, escaped with minor scrapes and has talked with detectives. Police have released a sketch of one possible suspect in the case.

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Police are offering a $22,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in the attack.

In a statement, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the attack "a pointless and gutless crime." He promised authorities would find and prosecute those responsible.

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