A man from Long Island, New York, is under arrest following a disturbing series of hate crimes targeting Latino men he committed over the weekend.
Tim Stelloh of NBC News has reported that 19-year-old Christopher Cella stands accused of first targeting and then attacking three different Latinx men in a series of assaults that began on the morning of Friday, Sept. 17.
According to Stelloh, “the first incident occurred Friday morning when Cella drove to a Mexican restaurant in Farmingville and picked up a man identified as a 52-year-old resident of the nearby community of Holbrook.”
Police say that after picking up the man, Cella drove him to an abandoned construction site and proceeded to attack him.
“Police did not say how the man was attacked or whether he escaped or was injured,” Stelloh reported. “Investigators did not immediately respond to a request for more details.”
Following that attack, Cella next drove for less than an hour to a 7-Eleven in Farmingville, where he again selected and picked up another victim, this time a 60-year-old man from a nearby town.
“The man was taken to a condominium complex and choked before he escaped,” Stelloh said.
The next day, Cella again returned to that Farmingville 7-Eleven in search of someone else to attack, this time settling on a 47-year-old man from Brentwood. Cella again tried to take the man to an unidentified location, only this time, police said the man became suspicious and fled before an attack could occur.
Cella was arrested at his home without incident the next morning and is now being held at a local jail.
Suffolk County police have confirmed that Cella faces hate crime charges for the first two attacks he committed. He is also being charged with multiple counts of aggravated harassment, criminal obstruction of breathing, unlawful imprisonment and reckless endangerment.
“The police department did not say what the motive might have been or how the men were persuaded to get in the car,” Stelloh said.