Police have a person in custody in connection with the death of O’Shae Sibley, a gay man who was fatally stabbed after a confrontation between a group of friends dancing to a Beyoncé song and several young men who taunted them, authorities said Friday.
The New York City Police Department declined to immediately identify the person or say what criminal charges they would face, if any, describing them only as a “person of interest.”
Sibley, a 28-year-old professional dancer, died July 29 after being stabbed in the torso at a Brooklyn gas station. His death outraged New York City’s LGBTQ+ community and drew tributes from celebrities including Beyoncé and Spike Lee.
Sibley was at a Mobil station with friends getting gas, listening to music and dancing shirtless on a hot night when they were heckled by a group of young men. One witness, Summy Ullah, said in interviews that the men complained that their behavior offended them as Muslims.
Security camera video showed the two groups arguing for a few minutes. Both sides had walked away when Sibley and a friend abruptly returned and again confronted one of the young men, who had stayed behind recording on his phone.
On the video, Sibley could be seen following the the teen and then lunging at him before the two disappeared out of the camera's view. A moment later, he walks backward into view, checking his side, then collapses to the sidewalk.
One of Sibley’s friends who was there, Otis Pena, said in a Facebook video that Sibley was killed because he was gay, and “because he stood up for his friends.”
Sibley performed with the dance company Philadanco in his native Philadelphia and in New York, where he took classes with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Ailey Extension program.
Mayor Eric Adams has promised “justice for O’Shae’s family and loved ones."
“O’Shae Sibley’s life and beautiful spirit were cut short by homophobia," Adams said in a message posted on social media Tuesday. “Bigotry can never take root in our city.”
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