Several Suspects Charged in Connection with Deadly Druggings and Robberies at N.Y.C. Gay Bars

John Umberger, a 33-year-old political consultant, and Julio Ramirez, a 25-year-old social worker, were both found dead last spring after visiting gay bars in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of N.Y.C.

John Umberger; Julio Ramirez
John Umberger and Julio Ramirez. Photo: John Umberger Instagram; Julio Ramirez Facebook

Several people have been charged in connection to the deaths of two men who authorities say were fatally drugged and then robbed after visiting gay bars in New York City last year, according to multiple outlets.

Citing two unnamed law enforcement officials, NBC News reports an unknown number of suspects have been indicted in connection with the deaths of John Umberger and Julio Ramirez.

Umberger, a 33-year-old political consultant, and Ramirez, a 25-year-old social worker, were both found dead last spring after visiting gay bars in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of N.Y.C., PEOPLE previously reported.

Citing the New York City Medical Examiner's Office, The New York Times reports the pair, who were killed in separate incidents, were a part of what is believed to be a larger string of "drug-facilitated thefts."

Umberger was found dead in an apartment he was renting, following a night at The Q NYC, while Ramirez was left unconscious in the back of a taxi after a visit to the Ritz Bar and Lounge, reports say. Ramirez was pronounced dead at the hospital, according to the Times.

Citing the medical examiner, the men died from a combination of cocaine, fentanyl and other drugs, the outlet reports.

According to NBC, thousands of dollars were stolen from the bank accounts of both men after they each left the bars with unknown individuals. Using facial recognition technology, family members told the outlet the suspects were able to gain access to the victims' financial accounts.

"I know that no one is safe until these people are off the streets, and that I know for sure," Umberger's mother Linda Clary said, according to CBS News.

In a statement to PEOPLE, a New York City Police Department spokesperson confirmed it's investigating "several incidents where individuals have been victims of either robberies or assault."

"Some of the victims are members of the LGBTQIA+ community, however it is believed that not all of the victims are. It is also believed that the motivation for these assault/robberies is monetary gain. The homicides of John Umberger and Julio Ramirez are currently under investigation."

Citing unnamed officials, NBC reports while it's unclear how many people are charged in the deaths of Umberger and Ramirez, the suspects are among six people indicted for what police allege are the related robberies of 17 individuals.

According to the Times, police suspect last year's drug-related death of fashion designer Kathryn Marie Gallagher might also be connected.

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The outlet reports Andre Butts is the only suspect who has so far been identified by authorities. Butts, 28, is accused of using Ramirez's credit card to buy hundreds of dollars-worth of shoes, hours after he died, per the outlet.

Butts' attorney Terrence Grifferty did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment and it's unclear if Butts entered a plea to the charge.

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 or on Twitter @NYPDTips.

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