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Brooklyn community on edge after latest bias attack

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

A hate crime in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn has the community on edge.  A woman was sexually assaulted and she was apparently targeted because she is gay. 

"It's totally shocking, I think people are stunned," said one resident. 

The alleged rape took place just after midnight June 16 outside of 198 Java Street and has left neighbors in the Greenpoint section shaken. 

"There's a whole bunch of cops and now I'm finding out. I'm like this was a lot worse than I expected or hoped -- it's really unsettling," said Margot Wood. 

Police released a surveillance video of the suspect following the 26-year-old woman on the street. He struck up a conversation with her then pulled a knife and raped her right on the sidewalk. 

Authorities say the perpetrator told the woman during the rape ‘I'm doing this to you because you're gay.' 

"I totally am taken aback by that it's not a neighborhood like that, it's totally friendly." 

"I don't know why this happened, I can't imagine, everyone knows everyone around here basically," said Mike Benitec, a Greenpoint resident. 

The sexual assault is the latest in a string of high-profile anti-gay attacks across the city in recent months that includes a murder in Greenwich Village in May. 

"A murder, a man whose eye socket was punched out, a woman raped -- the intensity of the violence of these crimes is something we haven't seen in the city in a long time," said Council Speaker Christine Quinn. 

The attacks have left leaders like openly gay city Council Speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn outraged. And now she and people in the Greenpoint neighborhood are hoping someone with information will step forward so this perpetrator is caught. 

He's described as, 5'9" tall with a medium build and dark hair. He was wearing a black tee short with an unknown design on the front, blue jeans and was carrying a knapsack. 

"I do hope they find this person. I do think it's probably someone not right in their mind,"  added another resident.

The NYPD Hate Crime Task Force is now investigating. Anyone with any information is asked to call the Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS (8477).

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