BROOKLYN, New York (WABC) -- The 17-year-old charged with stabbing and killing O'Shae Sibley at a gas station in Brooklyn was indicted by a grand jury on murder in the second degree as a hate crime, among other charges.
The teenager, who has not yet been identified, faces a minimum of 20 years in jail, and a maximum of 25 years to life.
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez made the announcement Thursday while stressing the importance of prosecuting this case as a hate crime.
"Many powerful people across this country have talked about this case and have been concerned that justice prevail," said Gonzalez. "I'm assuring the community that we are taking this case very seriously, that we're going to make sure that justice prevails."
Sibley was killed on July 29 at a gas station in Midwood after the gay professional dancer intervened between a group yelling homophobic and anti-Black slurs at another group.
After initially de-escalating the situation, words were exchanged once again and that's when investigators say the teen pulled a knife and stabbed Sibley.
Sibley died "of a stab wound of the chest with injury to the heart."
After a week of attempting to bring him in, the teen turned himself in through an arrangement with his lawyer.
He was identified by detectives early on, using video, by working with other city agencies and people from the neighborhood.
The Brooklyn district attorney stressed the importance of prosecuting the case as a hate crime.
"We're gonna stand up for Mr. Sibley for the rights he has to dance, to be exuberant, the right that he had not to stop dancing, because it offended someone else," Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez also weighed in for the first time on surveillance video that captured the confrontation.
Witnesses tell investigators the suspect claimed he is Muslim and was offended by the way the group was dancing as he hurled anti-gay slurs.
"What the video shows is that Mr. Sibley was rightfully in a position to speak out and protect himself and his friends from anti-gay and anti-Black slurs," he said. "And that what transcended after that was a crime. And we allege, as you can see, in the video, Mr. Sibley and his friends weren't armed. We know there's no question that they weren't, they have no shirt on. And so we know that defending yourself from being an anti-gay or anti-Black comment. And arguing back is not a cause for someone to take a weapon and do what was done in this case."
The 17-year-old will be arraigned in court Friday morning.
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