LGBTQ - A gay man died after being stabbed during an altercation with a group of young men Saturday night at a Brooklyn gas station. The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the crime.
According to New York’s PIX11, the victim, O’Shae Sibley, arrived at a Mobil gas station in Brooklyn’s Midwood neighborhood around 11:15 p.m. on Saturday night. He and four friends, all shirtless and wearing swim trunks, were dancing outside their car while waiting for it to fill up when another group of young men exiting the station’s convenience store began harassing them.
“They were saying, ‘Oh, we’re Muslim, so don’t do this in front of me,’” Summy Ullah, who witnessed the encounter, told the New York Daily News. “From that I think it looks like a hate crime.”
Surveillance video of the altercation shows Sibley, in light pink shorts, and friends exchanging heated words with the young men, one of whom can be seen recording the interaction with his phone.
“You like girls, you look like you’re into girls, but we are not into girls,” Ullah recalled Sibley’s group telling the young men. “We have our own life. We can do whatever we want, you know. We’re dancing, that’s our life.”
Ullah reportedly tried to diffuse the situation, but the group of young men continued to harass Sibley and his friends as they were leaving. According to Pix11, a witness said that the suspect may have also made anti-LGBTQ+ comments. Sibley’s group returned to the storefront to confront the other group. That’s when a fight broke out between Sibley and the man recording on his phone, who can be seen wearing red shorts in surveillance video.
The suspect stabbed Sibley in the torso and ran off. Sibley was rushed to Maimonides Medical Center where he died.
Witnesses told WABC that the suspect, believed to be around 17 years old, works at a nearby smoke shop and has caused trouble at the station before.
According to the New York Daily News, Sibley was a Philadelphia-born dancer who moved to Brooklyn in 2019. He performed with Philadelphia’s Philadanco dance company and was featured in director and choreographer Kemar Jewel’s 2021 video “Soft: A Love Letter to Black Queer Men.” He was also featured in Jacolby Satterwhite’s digital media exhibition “An Electric Dance to the Movement of Time,” which was shown at Lincoln Center in 2022.
Jewel told the paper that Sibley was also passionate about advocacy. “He was out at a lot of marches, a lot of protests. He was excited to be outside on the front lines, using his body as a way of protest,” Jewel said. “He also volunteered at dance studios to help teach folks. He volunteered at youth centers and he offered free classes and stuff. He definitely loved to give back.”
Malik Berry, Sibley’s friend, described him as “a beacon.”
“A representation of what… gay Black excellence could represent and what different facets it can come in,” Berry said.
(John Russell is a writer for LGBTQ Nation where this article was first featured.)