Oceanside teens charged with Babylon hate crime assault


Four days after two Oceanside brothers memorialized their older brother — a Marine who was slain in Afghanistan last year — the teens allegedly joined with two neighborhood friends in beating two men in Babylon while screaming anti-gay slurs at them.

The four Oceanside residents, Justin Buckley, 17, Shane Buckley, 18, Gregory Gilbert, 20 and Nicholas Battaglia, 18, have all been charged in First District Court in Islip with assault as a hate crime. In addition, Shane Buckley, Gilbert and Battaglia have been charged with gang assault.

Court papers allege that early on the morning of July 21, the two Buckley brothers, along with Gilbert and Battaglia were walking on Deer Park Avenue in Babylon at about 3:30 a.m. when they called across the street to ask two men how to get to the nearby train station. Words were apparently exchanged between the Oceanside teens and their two victims.

"The four assailants started yelling anti-gay slurs, crossed the street and attacked them," Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Lawrence Opisso said. The victims were taken to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip, court papers said, where one was admitted with a broken nose that will require surgery.

Just days earlier, on the evening of Wednesday, July 17, on what would have been their brother Gregory’s 22nd birthday, Shane Buckley and Justin Buckley joined at dusk with family and friends at Oceanside Park launch 22 luminary balloons into the air to honor their slain Marine brother. Four days later they were in handcuffs.

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