Oct. 11, 2010 -- New York City police are searching for a ninth suspect, accused of participating in a savage night-long gang assault against a man and two teenage boys whom they accused of being gay, authorities said today.
A citywide manhunt is in place for Rudy Vargas-Perez, 22, who police say participated in a torture session that involved slashing the victims with box cutters, burning them with cigarettes, sodomizing them with a plunger handle and, in one case, forcing a victim to select the weapon with which he would be beaten – a bat or pipe.
Cops denied reports that Vargas-Perez had offered to turn himself in and then ran off.
Perez's eight accused accomplices, all allegedly members of the Bronx gang the Latin King Goonies, were arraigned in court Sunday on hate-crime, robbery, assault, sexual abuse and unlawful imprisonment charges.
The nine members of the gang earlier this month heard a rumor that one of their 17-year-old recruits was gay. Early in the morning on Oct. 3, the gang members allegedly lured the teenager to an abandoned apartment, stripped him, beat him and sodomized him using a plunger handle.
As he sodomized the boy, gang leader Ildefonzo Mendez, 23, asked: "Are you a f.......t? Do you like this," according to police documents.
Prosecutors say the men then lured another 17-year-old boy and a 30-year-old man in to the apartment, where they too were tortured, in an attack city officials have condemned for its brutality.
The other accused suspects include: Elmer Confresi, 23; David Rivera, 21; Steven Caraballo, Denis Peitars, Nelson Falu and Bryan Almonte, all 17; and Brian Cepeda, 16.
Bronx Criminal Court Judge Harold Adler set bail for Peitars and Caraballo at $100,000 bond or $50,000 cash. the other six were held without bail.
Manhunt for Final Member of 'Gay Bashing' Bronx Gang
None of the young men pleaded on Sunday.
Court documents depict an extreme interrogation led by Mendez, followed by a group beating.
Each of the victims was stripped and made to sit in a chair with a red bandana. They were then assaulted with whatever the accused could get their hands on including a plastic bat, a miniature wooden baseball bat, a plunger, and can of shaving cream, court documents state.
Police said the gang members first suspected their 17-year-old recruit was gay when they saw him with the 30-year-old victim, a known homosexual.
According to the criminal complaint, one of the gang members Nelson Falu slashed the boy with a box cutter and said: "You crazy. You lost your mind."
Later the men reportedly lured the 30-year-old into the brick building that the gang had been using as hangout all summer, telling him they were throwing a party.
"You like to have sex with the young ones?" Mendez asked the man before sodomizing him a miniature bat and burning him with cigarettes, the court papers state.
The gang members then went to the man's house, tied up his brother, and stole three cell phones, $1,000 in cash and a 52-inch television, according to police.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and several other officials condemned the attack.
"What kind of twisted logic spurs a large group of men to show off their toughness by ganging up on helpless individuals? That's not showing you're tough, that's just showing that you're weak and despicable," said the mayor.