After a gay couple was attacked by a group of alleged New York Knicks fans this past Sunday (May 5), police are searching for a reported eight persons of interest in the case. Nick Pronto, 27, and his partner, Kevin Atkins, were attacked in Manhattan just steps away from Madison Square Garden. The case is now being investigated by the NYPD as a possible hate crime.
DNAinfo has been following the developing story since Monday (May 6), sitting down with the couple who are both nursing various injuries stemming from the assault. Pronto and Atkins had just enjoyed an afternoon brunch in Manhattan and while walking past the Garden, they encountered the fans who first insulted them with slurs. Pronto says he responded to the group thus sparking the attack.
"Fists started flying. I was on the ground, and the only thing I could do, I reached out and grabbed someone's hair," Porto said on Monday. “I'm so upset, it's my fault – I spoke back to them – that Kevin was hit. He didn't deserve it whatsoever.”
Porto suffered a broken nose and head injuries in the attack. Atkins was treated for a broken wrist and had some personal property destroyed. The Brooklyn residents were taken to Bellevue Hospital to get treatment for their wounds.
Initially, cops reported that four men carried out the attack and released information and a video last night (May 8) of the suspected attackers. After reviewing surveillance camera footage, NYPD is now on the hunt for eight people in total and has asked the public to offer tips regarding the assault. A previous description of a man in his 20s wearing a white shirt and Carmelo Anthony jersey has been supported with photos as well.
The Knicks were facing off against the Indiana Pacers inside the Garden as part of their second-round NBA playoff series when the attack occurred.
Watch video of the suspected group below. Hit the following pages for photos.