Ringleader arrested in Manhattan gay nightclub robbery spree that left several dead from overdoses
Cops have arrested a fourth suspect wanted for a robbery spree targeting Manhattan gay nightclub patrons that led to a string of overdose deaths, police said Tuesday.
Jayqwan Hamilton, 35, surrendered to authorities Monday night. Charges against him were pending.
Mayor Adams and NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell are expected to announce his arrest and the ongoing investigation at a press conference at police headquarters Tuesday afternoon.
Hamilton is among a half-dozen reputed gang members indicted by a Manhattan grand jury on March 23 for murder, robbery, grand larceny and conspiracy in the killings of John Umberger and Julio Ramirez.
Ramirez, a Brooklyn social worker, was found unconscious in the back seat of a taxi on the Lower East Side early on April 21, 2022, after he’d visited a gay nightspot, the Ritz Bar and Lounge on W. 46th St.
Umberger, a Washington resident and political consultant, was found dead June 1 in an Upper East Side apartment where he had been staying. He died after visiting the Q, a gay nightclub in Hell’s Kitchen.
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Last month, the city Medical Examiner deemed the deaths of Ramirez, 25, and Umberger, 33, homicides caused by “drug-facilitated thefts.”
The two victims are among at least seven people who died from overdoses after criminals slipped them drugs laced with fentanyl and other deadly drugs as they left Manhattan bars and restaurants, police said.
Three of Hamilton’s accomplices, Jacob Barroso, Robert DeMaio and Andre Butts were arrested in the last two weeks.
Hamilton is considered to be the ringleader of the robbery crew and gave the deadly drugs to Ramirez and Umberger, police sources said.
The thieves target the victims as they leave Manhattan bars, offering them either drugs or drug-laced cigarettes, according to police. When the victims fall unconscious, the crooks take their cellphones and then use cash transfer apps to empty out their bank accounts.
On March 24, renowned Lower East Side fashion designer Kathryn Marie Gallagher, who died July 24, 2022, was added to the list of victims who died from drug overdoses administered to them by thieves.
It’s not clear whether Barroso, Hamilton and DeMaio’s crew or members of a separate robbery crew were responsible for Gallagher’s death.