Four teenagers from Oceanside have been accused of physically attacking two men in what Suffolk County police said is being investigating as an alleged anti-gay hate crime in Babylon early Sunday morning.
The suspects were walking on Deer Park Avenue when they asked the victims for directions to the Long Island Rail Road train station before the group jumped the duo at 3:30 a.m., police said.
The alleged attackers punched, kicked and shoved the two men “while using slurs based on the suspects’ belief of the victims’ sexual orientation,” police said in news release. Police did not disclose the alleged slurs used.
A witness called 911 and responding officers arrested 20-year-old Gregory Gilbert, Shane Buckley and Nicholas Battaglia, both 18, along with 17-year-old Justin Buckley.
All four were charged with assault as a hate crime. Gilbert, Battaglia and Shane Buckley were also charged with gang assault. They will be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip.
The victims were taken to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip, where one was treated and released and the other victim was admitted in serious condition.
David Kilmnick, CEO of the Long Island GLBT Services Network, called the allegations disturbing and frightening.
“This incident reminds us that we need to be vigilant in combatting hate and homophobia and that there still is a tremendous amount of work to do to make our Long Island a safe and welcoming community for all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and families,” he said in a statement.
Police are continuing the investigation.