Arrests Made In Robberies, Deaths Of Men At NYC Gay Clubs
On March 31, 2023, the New York Police Department identified three suspects in connection to the deaths of 25-year-old Julio Ramirez and 33-year-old John Umberger.
Two of three identified suspects have been arrested in connection with a series of deaths and robberies at gay bars in Manhattan, New York.
The New York Police Department identified the three suspects on March 31, 2023 after they were indicted the week before by a grand jury investigating the deaths of 25-year-old Julio Ramirez and 33-year-old John Umberger, ABC 7 reported.
Jacob Barroso, 30, was arrested on April 1 and charged with murder, three counts of robbery, identity theft, and other related charges, officials say. Another suspect, Robert DeMaio, 34, turned himself in to detectives two days later on April 3. A third suspect, Jayquan Hamilton, 35, is still being sought.
In April 2022, 25-year-old Julio Ramirez died after a night out at a bar in Hell’s Kitchen, a vibrant New York City neighborhood that’s known for its nightlife.
NBC News reported that Ramirez left Ritz Bar and Lounge, a popular, multi-level gay bar, around 3:17 a.m. Security footage showed that he walked away from the bar with three unknown men who joined him after he’d been waiting outside for over 10 minutes alone.
They all entered a nearby taxi, but Ramirez’s body was alone in the backseat when he was found dead in the early morning hours of April 21, 2022. The cab driver contacted police in Manhattan to report that Ramirez was unresponsive.
In the days and hours after the young man’s death, over $20,000 had been spent on his bank accounts, reported PIX11 News. Within less than a week, his checking and savings accounts were emptied.
Five weeks later, 33-year-old John Umberger was found dead inside an Upper East Side apartment after leaving The Q NYC, another popular Hell’s Kitchen gay nightclub. Surveillance video showed two men leading him into a waiting car outside the club.
Citing the New York City Medical Examiner's Office, The New York Times reported that the pair were a part of what is believed to be a larger string of "drug-facilitated thefts."
Police have linked 17 drug-aided robberies to the Ramirez/Umberger pattern between Sept. 19, 2021 and Aug. 28, 2022.
In this pattern, the drunk victims are offered tainted narcotics or marijuana at a bar. Once the drugs take effect, they are robbed of their cell phones and large amounts of money are transferred from the victims' bank accounts using facial recognition technology.
According to the medical examiner, both Ramirez and Umberger died from a combination of cocaine, fentanyl, and other drugs. Both had large amounts of money taken from their accounts following their deaths.
Anyone with information on the cases is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). Tips can also be submitted online at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org or on Twitter @NYPDTips.