A 17-year-old Brooklyn man has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder in the killing of O’Shae Sibley, a professional dancer who was stabbed in what officials are designating as a hate crime.
“Parents have lost a child to something clearly that was a hate crime,” Mayor Eric Adams said at a Brooklyn press conference announcing the arrest at the site of Sibley’s murder.
Sibley, 28, was traveling back from a day at the beach in New Jersey last Saturday night when he and his friends stopped for gas at a Mobil station on Coney Island Avenue in Midwood. They began dancing and voguing as they pumped gas, and were confronted by a group of people who demanded they stop dancing.
“They began to use derogatory names and use homophobic slurs against them,” said Assistant Chief Joe Kenny of the NYPD detective bureau, at the same press conference. “They also made anti-Black statements.”
Kenny said one of the people approached Sibley, stabbing him once in the rib cage and then fleeing in a Toyota Highlander. Through surveillance footage and witnesses, police were able to identify the suspect who finally surrendered Friday in consultation with his attorney.
Adams credited law enforcement as well as cooperation with the community in tightening the net around the suspect.
“It wasn’t as though someone turned themselves in out of the goodness of their heart,” the mayor said Saturday. “It was out of the proper investigation and coordination that led to no other thing to do but to turn themselves in.”
Lee Soulja Simmons, head of the NYC Center for Black Pride, remembered Sibley’s gifts as a dancer and lamented the loss of life and potential in his murder.
“He was doing nothing more than voguing and dancing,” he said Saturday. “He did not deserve to die in that way.”
The identity of the suspect has not been released and his attorney information was not immediately available.
Under New York state law, if the suspect is tried as an adult, he could be facing a mandatory sentence of 20 years to life for murder as a hate crime.