Beating death shocks B.C.'s gay community
Clapping and singing "justice will be done," hundreds of people marched through downtown Vancouver Sunday then on to Stanley Park, where just one day earlier a man from the city's gay community was beaten to death.
Aaron Webster, 41, was struck repeatedly in the head and upper body with what police say was a baseball bat or pool cue by a group of assailants.
The police department has issued a warning to the gay community to be careful. Det. Scott Dreimal says police believe Webster was attacked because of his sexual orientation.
Webster's mother was at the vigil, as well as a friend who found him just before he died. Tim Chisholm spoke of his grief and feelings of helplessness:
"The experience is of having somebody that you really care about die in your arms, and you can't control it. You have no control over it, and they're beaten very badly."
Webster's body was found early Saturday on a walking trail called the Bridle Path.
"It just blew me away when I found him there, Chisholm said. "It was just pure circumstance that I found him."
Murray Bilida heard news of the killing on the radio and decided to help organize the march and vigil in remembrance and solidarity.
Bilida calls the killing an attack on the entire gay and lesbian community, and says the entire community has responded.
"I think our security is similar to every woman who has to walk to her car nervously," he said. "I don't think we go out into our community in fear. And when these horrific events unfold, we are shocked as a community and we respond as such.
"That's the reason for the vigil, because we will not be living in fear in our own backyards and in our city."