(NEW YORK)– NYPD detectives are looking for a 17-year-old in connection with Saturday night’s fatal stabbing of dancer O’Shae Sibley at a gas station in Brooklyn.
The 17-year-old has a history of arrests but, because he’s a minor, the records are sealed and the details are unavailable, police said.
According to police, the 28-year-old Sibley was stabbed in his torso on Saturday around 11 p.m. In a video posted to Facebook, Sibley’s friend Otis Pena said he and Sibley were among a group of friends that were voguing and dancing at the gas station while pumping gas when they were confronted by another group.
According to Pena, the group hurled homophobic slurs at Sibley’s group. The confrontation then turned violent and Sibley was stabbed, witnesses said.
Sibley was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing. Police say they are trying to move quickly to establish what happened and whether this was a bias crime.
Sibley, a Black gay man, was a beloved figure in the New York and Philadelphia dance communities. He was a student of the Ailey Extension, the official dance studio of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Foundation, and formerly a part of Philadanco, the Philadelphia Dance Company.
Ja’Michael De’Shawn, a fellow dancer who worked with Sibley, called him a “joy to be in a studio with” and said he had “a beautiful and sweet spirit.”
“He was just spectacular to see move on stage,” De’Shawn told ABC News. “He has so much passion, so much technique. And he always made us everyone in the room feel confident, like we could do it.”
De’Shawn recalled that on his 31st birthday, Sibley broke out singing “Happy Birthday” in the dressing room before a performance.
“How is it even possible for someone’s life to be taken at such a young age, so talented, so kind,” he said.
Sibley was reportedly dancing to Beyoncé’s album “Renaissance,” which pays homage to the Black queer community.
The pop star honored him on her website, in a tribute that reads: “Rest in Power O’Shae Sibley.”
The killing comes at a time of growing anti-LGBTQ+ extremism across the U.S., that has led to protests, threats and violence against the queer community.
Philadanco and Ailey Extension paid tribute to the dancer on social media.
“This news is absolutely heartbreaking and we believe no one deserves to be targeted for simply being themselves and living in their truth,” read a statement from Philadanco.
“O’Shae was a cherished and devoted Ailey Extension student. He had incredible energy in the studio and was loved by instructors and fellow classmates,” said the Ailey Extension, the official dance studio of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Foundation, in a statement.
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