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Teenager charged with a hate crime in fatal stabbing of Brooklyn gay man

O’Shae Sibley, 28, was fatally stabbed July 29 at a gas station in Brooklyn, New York.
People gather at a gas station during a vigil to memorialize O'Shae Sibley
People gather at a gas station during a vigil to memorialize O'Shae Sibley in New York, on Friday.Tracie Van Auken / AP

A 17-year-old male arrested in connection with the fatal stabbing of a 28-year-old gay man at a Brooklyn gas station was charged with murder as a hate crime, officials said Saturday.

The teenager, who has not been publicly identified, was arrested and charged Friday, New York police said.

The suspect turned himself in at a police station in Brooklyn, law enforcement sources told NBC News on Friday.

O’Shae Sibley, a professional dancer and choreographer, was stabbed to death July 29.

O'Shae Sibley.
O'Shae Sibley.Kemar Jewel

Sibley was playing music from Beyoncé’s “Renaissance” album and vogue dancing when he was approached by a group of men who told him to stop, witnesses said. They added that he tried to de-escalate the situation before he was stabbed in the torso. 

One of the men wanted Sibley to stop dancing and after “a few fights and back and forth arguing, he pulled out a knife and stabbed him,” witness Sayeda Haider said, according to NBC New York.

Mayor Eric Adams said Saturday the stabbing was "clearly" a hate crime.

"Good afternoon, but in fact, there’s nothing good about the reason that we are gathered here, to just express our heartfelt condolences to the O’Shae family," he told reporters. "He could be my son. And oftentimes when you have incidents like this, you reflect outside of your professional status and move to your personal status. Parents lost a child."

The teenage suspect, from Brooklyn, was also charged with criminal possession of a weapon.

Otis Pena, a friend of Sibley’s who said he witnessed the stabbing, shared a video on Facebook the next day about the fatal incident.

“They murdered him because he’s gay, because he stood up for his friends,” Pena, who described Sibley as “the salt to my pepper,” said in the video. “His name was O’Shae, and you all killed him. You all murdered him right in front of me.”

Beyoncé’s album “Renaissance” — which was released a year to date from Sibley’s killing — features samples of house music from several Black LGBTQ artists and references queer ballroom culture. Beyoncé, who has a large gay fanbase, also happened to be touring in the New York City metropolitan area Saturday.

The 41-year-old superstar honored Sibley on Wednesday, posting a message about his death on her official website. 

“REST IN POWER O’SHAE SIBLEY,” Beyoncé's website said.

Several other big-name celebrities, including Whoopi Goldberg and Ellen Degeneres, also paid tribute to Sibley.

People gather in front of a gas station during a vigil to memorialize O'Shae Sibley
People gather in front of a gas station during a vigil to memorialize O'Shae Sibley in New York, on Friday.Tracie Van Auken / AP

Sibley’s stabbing coincides with a surge in anti-LGBTQ demonstrations across the nation within the last year.

Since June 2022, there has been an average of 39 anti-LGBTQ protests nationwide each month, according to a recent report by the Crowd Counting Consortium, a research group that tracks the size of political protests. In comparison, the group recorded just three protests per month from January 2017 through May 2022.

In particular, the demonstrations have made headlines in recent months for occurring in New York City, which has the largest population of LGBTQ people in the nation, according to the Williams Institute, a think tank at UCLA Law. 

Dozens of Pride flags were damaged and ripped down at the Stonewall National Monument — the site of a June 1969 uprising that is widely considered to be a critical point in the modern queer rights movement — at least three times in June, which is LGBTQ Pride Month.

A vigil was being held for Sibley on Friday evening at the gas station where he was stabbed to death.