Sketches released of suspects in Chelsea bias attack

August 16, 2013 4:32:27 AM PDT
Police have released sketches of two of the men wanted in an attack motivated by hate in Manhattan.

Investigators say they are among a half dozen men involved in the bias attack beating of a gay couple in Chelsea.

The victims, 27-year-old Michale Felenchak and 53-year-old Peter Nortman, were attacked while walking along West 24th Street just after midnight Wednesday.

The men were walking together, hand-in-hand, when they were approached by two men who shouted anti-gay slurs and proceeded to punch and kick the victims.

Subsequently, three or four additional men joined in the assault.

The suspects fled northbound on Ninth Avenue in the direction of West 25 Street, while the victims were taken to Beth Israel Hospital, where they were treated and released.

"It makes me sick to my stomach," Felenchak said, showing off the stitches above his chin and scrapes across his stomach. "It scares me. It upsets me. It's really awful."

Police have stepped up patrols in the area as the search for the attackers continues. Sharon Stapel, the head of the New York City anti-violence project, says not responding to slurs or hateful speech is a good step towards preventing violence.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).