Beloved NYC dancer O’Shae Sibley was killed on July 29 after a 17-year-old male accosted him and hurled slurs at Sibley and his friends at a Brooklyn gas station. The teen is now being indicted on a hate-crime murder charge, NBC News reports.
The fatal encounter occurred when, after Sibley and his group of friends were dancing to Beyoncé at a gas station pump, the teen and another group began taunting them, authorities say.
Based on security footage, the two groups began to argue and then both walked away. Sibley then returned along with a friend.
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez responded to the video, noting that what it “shows is that Mr. Sibley was rightfully in a position to speak out and protect himself and his friends from anti-gay and anti-Black slurs, and that what occurred after that was a crime.”
“Defending yourself from the anti-gay or anti-Black comments, arguing back, it’s not a cause for someone to take a weapon and do what was done in this case,” Gonzales added.
Sibley was a participant in the Ailey Organization, which released a statement saying “O’Shea [sic] had incredible energy in the studio and was loved by instructors and fellow students.”
The loss of Sibley is a blow to his “family – he is one of 11 siblings – and [has] unnerved the city’s gay community.”
Since last June, according to a report from the Anti-Defamation League and GLAAD advocacy group, there has been a marked increase in violence and harassment toward the LGBTQ+ community, including in online forums. “In the first three weeks of June there were 101 such incidents, more than twice the number during the same time period the year before.”
A celebration of life for Sibley was held on Tuesday for the Philadelphia native in his hometown, where hundreds of friends and family attended.