Three Arrests in Connection to Drugging, Robberies at Manhattan Gay Bars

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Three men have been charged with murder and robbery in connection to a series of druggings at Manhattan gay bars that killed two and have sent shock waves through the LGBTQ community. Justin Barroso, 30, and Robert DeMaio, 34, are accused of murdering Julio Ramirez, a 25-year-old social worker and John Umberger, a 33-year-old political consultant. The attacks, which happened last year, have alarmed nightlife goers as the industry slowly recovers since the pandemic. The indictment also reveals several other incidents that the police had not previously disclosed , such as the drugging and robbing of at least three people by Barroso, Hoskins, and Butts.

The District Attorney Alvin L Bragg issues a statement of the city’s distraught and dismay at the tragedy. He expresses condolences for the loss of Mr Ramirez and Mr. Umberger and acknowledges many New Yorkers fears of such events transpiring when they are out in the city.

The assailants, described as a ‘crew’ of attackers, had been targeting people at hells kitchen and drugging them, before taking them to a different location and robbing them. They also utilized financial apps to transfer over $3000 from Mr. Ramirez’s and Umberger’s bank accounts. The medical examiner ruled that both deaths were a result of a “drug-assisted theft” with a similar drug cocktail of fentanyl. Friends and Family of the victims had pushed for an investigation when they discovered the missing funds.

The Police Department has ensured that no homophobic bias was involved in the killings and that similar crimes had affected both gay and straight bars across the city. Furthermore, the availability and lack of detection of drugs created to cause incapacitation remains a threat and has haunted the LGBTQ community for years.

Linda Clary, mother of Mr. Umberger, extended her thanks that the investigations. The Ramirez family has not yet commented on account of the case. A fourth man Shane Hoskins was also charged with robbery, however Andre Butts, Jayqwan Hamilton and Justin Barroso in addition to Robert DeMaio were charged with multiple charges such as murder, robbery, identity theft, grand larceny and conspiracy.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is investigating to ensure such tragedies do not occur in the future and maintain the safety of the public should they go out.