Marcello Lucero usually drove to get around, but he chose to walk to a friend's place in Patchogue late Saturday, his brother said.

It was on that walk that Lucero, 37, was fatally stabbed because he is Hispanic, police said.

Joselo Lucero, 34, learned of his brother's fate from a detective who showed up Sunday at his Patchogue home.

"He said he had to tell me what happened to my brother, that there were seven guys -- and one of them stuck a knife in my brother's chest," Joselo Lucero said in a phone interview Monday. "And that was it."

The seven teenage suspects accused in the alleged fatal hate crime stabbing were to be arraigned Monday in First District Court in Central Islip" id="PLGEO1001001023806750NY">Central Islip.

All seven, including Jeffrey Conroy, 17, Medford, the teen accused of stabbing the victim to death, wore white jumpsuits and cloth booties -- their hands shackled behind their backs -- before their court appearance. Six of the seven are white.

None of the youths, six of whom are 17 years old and the other 16 years old, said a word.

Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Benton Campbell, said the office is "monitoring the situation to see if there are any potential federal civil rights violations."

Marcello Lucero, of Patchogue, who is of Ecuadorean descent, worked many years in the dry-cleaning business -- and had been working for a dry-cleaner in New York)" id="PLGEO100101022030667">Riverhead, Joselo Lucero said.

"He was a peaceful guy," who had never been in trouble, said Joselo Lucero, a welder.

He said his brother was unmarried and had no kids. He said an older sister lives on Long Island" id="PLTRA000031">Long Island and that a younger sister and mother live in Ecuador.

Police said Sunday the motive for the Saturday night attack was that the teens simply wanted to beat up someone who looked Hispanic.

That was what the mob had in mind when they attacked Lucero, who ended up being stabbed to death minutes before midnight Saturday, Suffolk police said.

"These individuals told detectives that they were looking to beat someone of Latino heritage," said Det. Lt. Jack Fitzpatrick, commander of the homicide squad.

Fitzpatrick said the seven suspects drove around Patchogue searching for victims before finding Lucero and another Ecuadorian man.

The attack occurred at Railroad Avenue and Sephton Street in Patchogue, near the Long Island Rail Road" id="ORGOV0000002">Long Island Rail Road station.

The suspects jumped out of the car and cornered the two men on the street, police said. Police said the second man escaped unharmed and fled to a friend's house, where he and Lucero had planned to watch a movie. He called police and later helped police identify the suspects.

The friend who had been waiting for them, Elder Fernandez, 36, said the mob fled and he found Lucero near Funard Court, a few hundred feet from where police said the stabbing took place, covered in blood, Fernandez said.

Lucero was transferred to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said. His relatives could not be reached last night.