Three juveniles in Belgium have been arrested for the killing of a gay man they lured to a park using a dating app. According to a report in De Standard, the lifeless body of the 42-year-old victim identified only as David P. was discovered by a cyclist early Saturday morning in a park in Beveren. An autopsy showed the man was violently stabbed and beaten to death. One 17-year-old suspect turned himself into authorities, and two others, a 16-year-old and 17-year-old, were later arrested by police who are investigating the murder as a possible hate crime.
According to police, the three accused juveniles used a dating app to lure David P. to the park. Police released few details on the specificities of the app, and it is unclear if the trio planned to murder or simply beat the man. Friends described David P. as an out student from a village near Sint-Niklass who was studying for a degree. Some have said his three alleged killers are part of a group of thugs who regularly beat members of the LGBTQ+ community in Belgium.
Last year, a gay man in the city of Charleroi, Belgium was beaten in broad daylight by a man shouting homophobic slurs. A man identified only as Eric said he was walking home on a public street when a man walked up to him and screamed "big dirty faggot." When he turned to face the man, he was punched and knocked to the ground. The bigot then ran away while Eric lay on the ground. Eric chose not to report the incident to police because he claimed six years earlier they told him he had a "pretty faggot face" when he reported being the victim of domestic abuse. He said those officers ultimately refused to help with what they called his "faggot problem."
The murder of David P. has stunned and outraged the country. Belgium Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said he was "deeply shocked" by the murder and expressed his "deepest condolences to the family and friends."
\u201cIk ben zwaar geschokt door de extreme homohaat in Beveren. Dit is echt verschrikkelijk. \n\nMijn diep medeleven aan de familie en vrienden van het slachtoffer. \n\nJustitie moet nu zijn werk doen. Maar laat \u00e9\u00e9n ding duidelijk zijn: we zullen in ons land dit geweld nooit aanvaarden.\u201d
— Alexander De Croo \ud83c\udde7\ud83c\uddea\ud83c\uddea\ud83c\uddfa (@Alexander De Croo \ud83c\udde7\ud83c\uddea\ud83c\uddea\ud83c\uddfa)