Two openly gay men in New York City were strangled to death in the same week, prompting fears that a killer may be targeting the Queens gay community.
City Councilmember Daniel Dromm says both murders occurred in his district, which includes Jackson Heights and Elmhurst.
The first victim was murdered at 32-23 91st Street in on February 3. The medical examiner determined that 53-year-old David Rangel, a middle school teacher, was choked to death by an assailant, The Daily News reports.
The second victim was murdered at the Crown Motor Inn at 74-01 Queens Boulevard. Joseph Benzinger, 54, was found in his hotel room around 11:45 p.m. with a t-shirt wrapped around his neck.
In both instances, there was no sign of forced entry into the rooms where the bodies were discovered.
Dromm is urging the LGBT community in Jackson Heights and Elmhurst to use online dating services cautiously, and when meeting someone for the first time.
Jackson Heights has one of New York City's most thriving gay communities.
Tragedy also struck the Queens gay community this past fall.
Lou Rispoli, a prominent gay rights activist, was beaten to death on a street in Sunnyside. In that case, police have released sketches of two men wanted in connection with the murder.
Just last month in Manhattan, 48-year-old Charles Romo's body was discovered in his Hamilton Heights apartment. Cops suspect a male lover may have helped beat and rob Romo.
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