Fatally Bashed Toronto Victim May Have Been Hailing Cab
After examining security videos, Toronto authorities say that a gay murder victim might have been attacked and then run over by the occupants of a black SUV because he hit their vehicle with his hand while trying to flag down a cab.
An Oct. 25 article at The Star.com said that security camera videos examined by police show the victim, 27-year-old Christopher Skinner, trying to hail taxis as he walked down the street at around 3:00 a.m. on Oct. 18.
In one video, a black SUV matching the description provided by witnesses of the vehicle that was used to run Skinner over can be seen. Said Detective Stacy Gallant, "We believe Mr. Skinner was still attempting to hail a cab and he may have intentionally or unintentionally struck the suspect vehicle with his hand or a part of his body."
However Skinner came to the attention of those in the black SUV, a number of men reportedly emerged form the vehicle, beat Skinner, and left him lying on the road near the vehicle. They then climbed back into the SUV and deliberately ran over Skinner, fatally injuring him. Skinner died later in the hospital.
The attack itself was not captured on surveillance videos. Witnesses related the incident to the police, and were unable to say what precipitated the attack and murder. Skinner’s friends wonder whether the openly gay young man, who was engaged to his male partner at the time of his death, might have been targeted because of his sexuality.
The community gathered on the evening of Oct. 25 to commemorate Skinner and to signal that murderous acts of violence have no place in Toronto. A candle light vigil for Skinner drew up to a thousand people, including friends and Skinner’s sister Taryn, a follow-up article at The Star.com on Oct. 26 said.
Said Skinner’s childhood friend Sarah, "If Chris extended his hand to hail a cab and accidentally hit a vehicle, he would’ve been walking right up there to apologize.... If they had spent five minutes with him, they wouldn’t have done anything to him. All you had to do was spend five minutes with Chris and you would’ve been friends for life."
Another friend, Matt Kenny, spoke through a megaphone, vowing, "We will push light into the darkness that was the last week.... Monsters that hide in the dark will be found and will be defeated."
One woman sang her own lyrics as the crowd took up a refrain of "Amazing Grace," the article said: "We are gay and straight together, and we are singing, we are singing for our lives."
The attack and killing took place at the end of an evening out for Skinner and his fiancee, Ryan Cooke, who had been out with Skinner’s sister celebrating her birthday. Skinner had set out to return home alone when he encountered the attackers; hours later, after having posted a Facebook message asking whether anyone know of Skinner’s whereabouts, Cooke learned of his life partner’s death.