A 17-year-old who police believe fatally stabbed a man dancing outside a gas station in Brooklyn has reportedly turned himself in to authorities and has been charged with murder as a hate crime.
The teenager, who has not been named publicly, is now in police custody, officials announced Saturday.
Police believe the teen stabbed O'Shae Sibley, 28, a man who was dancing and posing to a Beyonce song at a gas station with his friends on the day of the attack. A large group of men reportedly approached Mr Sibley and his friends and began hurling homophobic slurs at them.
The slurs and harassment eventually caused a confrontation, according to an NYPD spokesperson.
“As the group began to yell at Mr. Sibley and his friends, they began to call them derogatory names and used homophobic slurs against him,” NYPD Assistant Chief Joe Kenny said at a press conference Saturday. “They also made anti-Black statements, all while demanding that they simply stop dancing.”
Otis Pena, a witness, told police one of the men stabbed his friend, Mr Sibley, in the torso.
“This encounter lasts for approximately four minutes, when the victim and the known perpetrator come together,” Mr Kenny said. “This perpetrator retreats away from Mr. Sibley, while striking him one time with a sharp object, piercing his chest and damaging his heart. Mr. Sibley falls to the sidewalk while the perpetrator flees the scene in a Toyota Highlander.”
Mr Sibley was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
The suspect was reportedly a student at a nearby school, and was identified “quickly” by local police, Mr Kenny said.
Police are investigating whether or not the fatal stabbing was a hate crime.
“This is a city where you are free to express yourself, and that expression should never end with any form of violence,” Mayor Eric Adams said Saturday during a press conference.
Mr Pena claimed the men who attacked them allegedly said they were Muslims.
“They hated us cause we are gay!” Mr Pena, said in a Facebook post. “[They were] screaming we Muslim and we don’t like gays!!!!! As we are innocently pumping gas and ya’ll decided to stab on one of us!!!”
The friends were reportedly driving home after a beach day celebrating Mr Pena’s birthday when they stopped for gas.
Mr Sibley was a professional dancer. His work appeared in music videos and was featured at New York City’s Lincoln Centre for the Peforming Arts.