(NEW YORK) — A teenager has been charged with murder as a hate crime in connection with the fatal stabbing of New York City dancer O’Shae Sibley, police said.
The unidentified suspect lives in and attends high school in Brooklyn, NYPD Assistant Chief Joseph Kenny said at a press briefing on Saturday announcing the suspect’s apprehension.
Police previously said that a 17-year-old male was wanted in connection with the fatal stabbing of Sibley, a 28-year-old Black gay man, who was stabbed in his torso on July 29 around 11 p.m. at a gas station in Brooklyn.
The suspect turned himself in accompanied by an attorney, police said. He is charged with murder as a hate crime and criminal possession of a weapon.
Those charges are subject to change once the Brooklyn District Attorney takes over the case.
In a video posted to Facebook, Sibley’s friend Otis Pena said he and Sibley were among a group of friends that were voguing and dancing at the gas station while pumping gas when they were confronted by another group.
The group hurled homophobic slurs and anti-Black statements at Sibley’s group while demanding that they stop dancing, according to Kenny. After about four minutes, the confrontation then turned violent, Kenny said.
The perpetrator struck Sibley with a sharp object on the left side of his ribcage, “piercing his chest and damaging his heart,” Kenny said. The suspect fled the scene in a vehicle, but was quickly identified with the help of tips from citizens, officials said.
Sibley was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
“Parents lost a child, a child to something clearly that was a hate crime,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said at Saturday’s press briefing.
“This is a city where you are free to express yourself, and that expression should never end with any form of violence,” he added.
The killing comes at a time of growing anti-LGBTQ+ extremism across the U.S.
Sibley was a beloved figure in the New York and Philadelphia dance communities. He was described by his friends as “a beautiful and sweet spirit,” with “spectacular” talents in singing and dancing.
“How is it even possible for someone’s life to be taken at such a young age — so talented, so kind,” said Ja’Michael De’Shawn, a fellow dancer who worked with Sibley.
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