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Second arrest made in immigrant's fatal beating

  • Story Highlights
  • Police arrest Keith Phoenix, 28; his arraignment is scheduled for Saturday
  • Hakim Scott, 25, has already been charged with second-degree murder
  • Police say they attacked Jose and Romel Sucuzhanay last December
  • Ecuadorian brothers hugging to stay warm; assailants made anti-gay remarks
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From Jesse Solomon
CNN
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- New York police have made a second arrest in the beating death last December of an Ecuadorian immigrant -- an apparent anti-Latino and anti-gay hate crime, an official with Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes' office said Friday.

Jose Sucuzhanay was beaten after leaving a party at a church in New York last December. He died of his injuries.

Jose Sucuzhanay was beaten after leaving a party at a church in New York last December. He died of his injuries.

Police on Thursday arrested Keith Phoenix, 28, in the Yonkers area, north of New York City.

Phoenix had been wanted in connection with the beating and death of Jose Sucuzhanay. He was arrested after police received a tip about his whereabouts from an acquaintance in Connecticut, said Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly.

Phoenix's arraignment is scheduled for Saturday, the spokesman for Hynes said.

Phoenix's arrest follows the Tuesday arrest of Hakim Scott, 25, who has been charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime.

Police say Jose Sucuzhanay, 31, and his brother Romel Sucuzhanay, 34, had left a party at a church on December 7 and were embracing each other to keep warm in the cold.

That's when Scott and Phoenix allegedly approached them in a car in Brooklyn's Bushwick section, about a block from the brothers' home.

Police say Scott and Phoenix shouted anti-gay and anti-Latino vulgarities and attacked the brothers.

Scott first assaulted Jose Sucuzhanay with a beer bottle before chasing his brother, police said.

Phoenix then "savagely beat Jose Sucuzhanay on his ribs, shoulders," head and back with an aluminum bat, according to Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly.

Jose Sucuzhanay died of his injuries hours before his mother arrived in New York from Ecuador. Romel Sucuzhanay escaped with minor scrapes.

Police were able to identify the two suspects when they determined that they had fled across the Triborough Bridge. They interviewed bridge toll booth employees and combed through videotape of cars passing through cash-only lanes on the bridge.

CNN's Jason Kessler contributed to this report.

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