O’Shae Sibley was dancing to Beyonce music with some friends in a gas station in Brooklyn, United States when he was murdered by a group of men, the New York Times reported on Monday.
Sibley, a gay man and professional dancer originally from Philadelphia, was enjoying “Renaissance” by Beyonce when he was confronted by a group of men who used homophobic slurs. Sibley’s friends began to record the tense interaction, which escalated rapidly into a physical altercation.
“Stop saying that. There is nothing wrong with being gay,” Sibley and his friends had reportedly said to the men before he was fatally attacked.
One of the men stabbed Sibley who died of his wounds. He was 28 years old.
The police hate crimes unit is investigating the attack and has identified a suspect in the murder, but no arrests have yet been made.
Reactions to the murder of Sibley
One of Sibley’s friends, Otis Pena, attempted to stop the bleeding from the stab wound by holding pressure while the group traveled to Maimonides Medical Center, but Sibley was pronounced dead at the hospital.
“They murdered him because he’s gay, because he stood up for his friends,” Pena said in a 14-minute Facebook video that he posted just a few hours after the killing on Coney Island Avenue in Midwood. “His name was O’Shae and you all killed him. You all murdered him right in front of me.
“It [doesn't] co-align with your beliefs, but we are gay. We are just here…You stabbed my brother in the chest, saying ‘we Muslim, we don’t need that gay shit around here.’”
Brad Hoylman-Sigal, a gay state senator in New York, said he was “heartbroken and enraged” over Mr. Sibley’s killing.
“Gay joy is not a crime,” he said on Twitter. “Hate-fueled attacks are.”
Heartbroken and enraged to learn about O'Shae Sibley's death this weekend in New York. Despite homophobes' best efforts, gay joy is not crime. Hate-fueled attacks are.https://t.co/XiPuzEgn6T— Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal (@bradhoylman) July 31, 2023
that “It was a senseless crime,” Sibley’s 49-year-old Aunt Tondra Sibley told the Times. "O’Shae has always been a peacemaker. All he wanted to do was dance.”
Sibley was described as an uncle to gay teenagers at an after-school program he volunteered for in Philadelphia.
“O’Shae was so well versed. He was great at tap, ballet, hip-hop,” Kemar Jewel, who knew Sibley from the program, told the Times. “He was an incredible visual learner. I’ve seen him watch someone do something twice and then just do it.”