Police are reportedly seeking a 17-year-old male in connection with the fatal stabbing of New York dancer O’Shae Sibley.
Sibley, 28, described as “unique” and “charismatic” by friends, was stabbed at a petrol station near Coney Island on Saturday (29 July), and later died from his injuries.
The suspect reportedly stabbed Sibley after he was seen listening to Beyoncé and voguing with friends. Sibley was pronounced dead shortly after being taken to hospital.
Beyonce has paid tribute to the dancer with the message “Rest in power O’Shae Sibley” on her official website.
The New York Police Department (NYPD) is now reportedly seeking a 17-year-old male in connection with the stabbing, which is being investigated as a potential hate crime. Police added that the 17-year-old suspect had dark hair, and was last seen wearing a black shirt and red shorts.
In a statement provided to Advocate, LGBTQ+ organisation GLAAD said Sibley’s death follows a “disturbing rise in violence and harassment against LGBTQ+ people across the US”.
“No one should have to fear for their safety just for being themselves,” GLAAD continued.
“Politicians spewing lies and proposing policies filled with discrimination, 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.”
Both politicians and Sibley’s loved ones spoke out about the killing, with gay New York City councilman Erik Bottcher claiming those responsible for his death “must be brought to justice”.
“O’Shae Sibley was killed by a group of men for voguing at a gas station in Brooklyn. They used anti-gay slurs against him. He stood up for himself. They murdered him. This was a hate crime,” Bottcher said on Twitter.
Kelley Robinson, president of Human Rights Campaign, added on Twitter that Sibley “should still be here today… dancing and laughing and having fun with his friends.”
A friend of Sibley’s named Kemar Jewel explained that his “soul left his body” when he found out about Sibley’s death, describing the dancer as “one of the closest things to family”.
The choreographer wrote on Instagram: “A group of men killed him for being gay. Once I got the call that he didn’t make it to the hospital, I felt my soul leave my body.
“I met O’Shae when he was 16 years old. He was a bright-eyed and goofy young man who had talent beyond anything I’d seen before.”
He added: “Anyone who ever met O’Shae was very blessed to know him. He was funny, unique, charismatic and always knew how to have a good time… Most importantly, he loved HARD!!! He went above and beyond for his loved ones and made sure no one was ever sad around him.”
A friend of Sibley’s who was reportedly at the scene, Otis Pena, posted a Facebook video shortly after his death, claiming he was killed “because he’s gay, because he stood up for his friends.”
“His name was O’Shae and you all killed him. You all murdered him right in front of me,” Pena said.
“We as a community don’t deserve this… We may be gay, but we exist. We’re not going to live in fear. We’re not going to live hiding.”
A GoFundMe to cover the costs of Sibley’s funeral raised almost $30,000 (around £23,000).
The fundraising page explained that Sibley “lit up every room he stepped in”, while a dance organisation Sibley was a member of shared that he was a “cherished and devoted participant”.
PinkNews has contacted offices at the NYPD for comment.