Man Charged With Breaking Window Repeatedly at Manhattan Gay Bar
The New York City Police Department said a man was arrested and charged Tuesday in connection with a string of attacks on a gay bar in Manhattan that saw its front window smashed by bricks and a rock four times in less than one month.
Sean Kuilan, 34, of Hell’s Kitchen, the Manhattan neighborhood where the attacks occurred, was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, criminal mischief and reckless endangerment, according to the Police Department.
Keechant Sewell, the police commissioner, reiterated the charges in a statement on Twitter, but did not say if Mr. Kuilan would be charged with a hate crime. Still, in an appeal to the public before his arrest, the police described the string of attacks as a “hate crime pattern” and the department email identifying the arrested man had “hate crime” in its subject line.
The attacks on the bar, VERS, on the busy Ninth Avenue corridor of Hell’s Kitchen, had created a deep sense of anxiety within the city’s L.G.B.T.Q. community — a feeling compounded by a deadly shooting at a gay bar in Colorado Springs on Saturday that killed at least five and injured 18.
“People need to know that if you target our community or any marginalized community you will be held accountable,” said Erik Bottcher, a member of the City Council who represents Greenwich Village, Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen.
“Our community is relieved to know that this person has been identified and apprehended,” he added. “These incidents have made this difficult time even worse.”
The most recent attack took place at 10 p.m. on Saturday as the bar was packed with revelers. David DeParolesa, the owner of VERS, said no one had been injured in the brick attack that night because the bar windows were fitted with shatterproof glass. Each time they were struck, they erupted into a web of cracks but did not collapse.
He said the sound of cracking glass rattled patrons.
“Then the brick hit the sidewalk, and there was a thump that everyone heard,” he said. “We gave free shots to the people at the table at the front next to the window.”
Pressure mounted on the department to find the perpetrator after the shooting in Colorado Springs that same night.
Mr. Bottcher posted footage from the bar’s security camera on Twitter that showed the attacker’s face, and on Monday the police posted footage from the security camera of a nearby bodega that showed the man walking through its aisles. The man wore a dark jacket, jeans and glasses and he purchased a drink before leaving, the video shows.
On Tuesday, a Police Department spokesman said the man in the video is the same one who has been arrested in connection with the crimes.