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New York immigrant dead in apparent hate crime

  • Story Highlights
  • Immigrant dies from injuries sustained in possible bias attack
  • Jose Sucuzhanay, brother assaulted by group of men after leaving party
  • Group allegedly yelled anti-gay, anti-Latino vulgarities at men
  • Mother learned of son's death shortly after arriving from Ecuador
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- A 31-year-old Ecuadorean man who was beaten last Sunday in what New York City authorities say may have been a hate crime has died at a Queens hospital, his brother said Saturday.

New York Police Department investigators released this sketch of a possible suspect in the attack.

Jose Sucuzhanay was beaten after leaving a party at a Catholic church.

Jose Sucuzhanay and his brother, Romel, had left a party on December 7 at St. Brigid's Roman Catholic Church when several men approached them in a car in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, police said. The men allegedly began shouting anti-gay and anti-Latino vulgarities at the two men.

Jose Sucuzhanay suffered severe head trauma and was taken to Elmhurst Hospital. He died Friday night from his injuries.

Romel Sucuzhanay, 38, escaped with minor scrapes and has talked with detectives on the case.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said she was "horrified to learn that anti-LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual) and anti-Latino slurs were used by one or more of the assailants, raising this event to the level of a hate crime." Video Watch how attack has outraged the Latino community »

Quinn said she was in touch with the NYPD's Hate Crimes Task Force. According to police, however, the attack has not been categorized as a hate crime.

"This is a wake-up call and shows how far we still must come to address the devastating problem of hate crimes in our communities," said Diego Sucuzhanay, Jose's brother, in a written statement. "Only by exposing these crimes and working together will we be able to make a difference."

No arrests have been made in the case. Police are offering a $22,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in the attack.

Sucuzhanay's mother arrived Saturday in New York from the family's home outside Quito, Ecuador, only to learn that he son had died, said family spokesman Francisco Moya.

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He said the victim had lived in the United States for more than a decade and was a legal resident, working as a real estate broker.

A news conference is expected to be held Sunday afternoon.

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