(NEW YORK) — The deadly stabbing of a 28-year-old professional dancer at a Brooklyn, New York, gas station is being investigated by the NYPD as a hate crime, police sources told ABC-owned station WABC.
According to officials, O’Shae Sibley was stabbed in his torso on Saturday, July 29, 2023, a little after 11 p.m.
In a video posted to Facebook, Sibley’s friend Otis Pena said he and Sibley were among a group of friends that was voguing and dancing at the gas station while pumping gas when they were confronted by another group. The group hurled homophobic slurs at Sibley’s group, according to Pena.
“They murdered him because he was gay, because he stood up for his friends,” said Pena, adding that Sibley was a “beacon of light.”
He continued, “He was just saying we may be gay, and we’re listening to our music, but there’s no hate. It’s all love – when you stabbed him. You stabbed my brother.”
In a Monday press conference, New York City Mayor Eric Adams called the incident a “hate crime” while addressing the city’s efforts to tackle crime.
“We have an incident like we saw over the weekend where this young man was experiencing a hate crime. We will find this person. It shakes our confidence,” Adams said.
Sibley was pronounced dead at the hospital.
There have been no arrests and the investigation is ongoing, according to the NYPD.
Sibley was a beloved figure in the NYC dance community.
“O’Shae was a cherished and devoted Ailey Extension student. He had incredible energy in the studio and was loved by instructors and fellow classmates,” said the Ailey Extension, the official dance studio of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Foundation, in a statement.
It continued, “We are shocked and heartbroken that O’Shae’s life has been taken by senseless violence and extend our sincere condolences to his family and loved ones.”
Kemar Jewel, a choreographer, paid tribute to Sibley on Instagram.
“O’Shae was one of the closest things to family that I ever had,” Jewel said in the post. “We checked on each other. We loved each other and we were always there when the other needed it. We were invested in each other’s well-being and growth and I knew that we were bonded together forever.”
Jewel called Sibley a “bright-eyed and goofy young man who had talent beyond anything I’d seen before,” adding that he “could sing, he could do hip hop, jazz, ballet, tap, anddddddd he was an incredible voguer!”
GLAAD, the national LGBTQ media advocacy group, reported that Sibley is one of several LGBTQ people who have been the victim of violence in recent weeks.
“O’Shae Sibley’s shocking murder follows a disturbing rise in violence and harassment against LGBTQ people across the U.S. This cannot continue. No one should have to fear for their safety just for being themselves,” the statement sent to ABC News read. “Politicians spewing lies and proposing policies filled with disinformation, and media repeating their false and dangerous rhetoric unchallenged, are creating an incredibly hostile environment that endangers all LGBTQ people and all queer people of color.”
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