Babylon (WALK) - Cops say an attack early Sunday morning was a hate crime, and two of their four suspects are the younger brothers of a marine who lost his life in Afghanistan.
The suspects allegedly beat up two men on Deer Park Avenue in Babylon around 3:30 AM Sunday after asking the victims for directions to the train station, according to investigators. They shouted anti-gay slurs during the attack, based on the attacker's belief of the victim's sexual orientation," according to Suffolk police. A witness to the incident called 911.
The suspects are all from Oceanside and have been identified as Shane Buckley, 18; Justin Buckley, 17; Gregory Gilbert, 20; and Nicholas Battaglia, 18. Shane and Justin Buckley (pictured at left) are the younger brothers of Marine Lance Corporal Greg Buckley Jr., who died in service in Afghanistan last August, just days before he was supposed to make a surprise visit home to Oceanside.
The two victims were taken to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip. One of them has a badly broken nose which will need surgery, and was listed in serious condition Monday. The other victim was treated for his injuries and released.
The defendants are charged with two counts of assault in the 3rd degree as a hate crime and gang assault in the second degree. The judge set bail $5,000 cash or $10,000 bond. The defendants each posted bond and were released Monday.
The chief executive officer of the Long Island Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Services Network, David Kilmnick, issued a statement about the incident on Monday.
"The alleged anti-gay hate crime in Babylon is disturbing and frightening," said Kilmnick. "This incident reminds us that... there is still a tremendous amount of work to do to make our Long Island a safe and welcoming community."
Kilmnick said that he hopes prosecutors are harsh and the suspects get jail time, to send a message that hate and violence against any group will not be tolerated on Long Island.
Photo: Suffolk County Police