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Crime News Murders

Teen Charged in Stabbing Murder of O’Shae Sibley Allegedly Used Homophobic Language Prior to Attack

Dmitriy Popov allegedly attempted to evade police before ultimately turning himself in.

By Cydney Contreras

The teenager accused of fatally stabbing Black gay man O'Shae Sibley at a Brooklyn gas station last month allegedly yelled homophobic slurs prior to the attack, according to a criminal complaint obtained by NBC News.

Dmitriy Popov, 17, was charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime and criminal possession of a weapon, the outlet reported. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

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Popov was identified as a suspect through a video taken of the July 29 attack, which left Sibley, a professional dancer and choreographer, dead. In an attempt to evade capture, Popov allegedly shaved his head and shut off his cell phone before his lawyer, Mark Pollard, arranged for Popov to turn himself in at a Brooklyn precinct. 

The criminal complaint sheds new light on the incident, revealing that Popov and other teens had approached Sibley and his friends, who were dancing and voguing to Beyoncé's "Renaissance" as they waited for their car to finish fueling at the gas station.

A photo of O'Shae Sibley

Popov and the other teens allegedly proceeded to yell homophobic and anti-Black statements at the group, according to the complaint. At one point, someone allegedly said, "Stop dancing here we are Muslim, get that gay sh-t out of here."

The verbal altercation then turned physical and Popov allegedly stabbed Sibley once in the chest, piercing his heart. Popov fled the area following the stabbing.

Popov's attorney told NBC News that his client is not Muslim and denies using homophobic or racist language during his encounter with Sibley. "He has many Black friends, and his brother is married to a Black woman. Nothing in his background makes me think he hates Black people or the LGBTQ people, and he denies that," Pollard insisted. 

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Outside the courtroom, Pollard suggested to reporters that his client may claim that he stabbed Sibley in self-defense, according to local news outlet WMUR

"I strongly suspect that we will be going self-defense and that he had a reasonable grounds to reasonably believe that he had to defend himself in this situation," Pollard said. "He regrets what happened, certainly, but it doesn't mean that he's guilty of a crime."

Joseph Kenny, an assistant chief at the New York City Police Department's detective bureau, said that his office based the charges on information uncovered during the course of their investigation. 

“We can see on the video a heated verbal dispute quickly turns physical,” Kenny said. “This results in Mr. Sibley being stabbed one time, causing his death.”

Popov is currently being held without bail, as ordered by Judge Craig Walker. 

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