More than a thousand people showed up
Sunday night to mourn the loss of Christopher Skinner, a
twenty-seven-year-old gay Toronto man killed in a brutal hit-and-run
The candlelight vigil came a day after
police held a press conference to screen video clips taken on the
night Skinner died.
Skinner was killed during an
altercation Sunday, October 18 after his assaulters ran him over with
a black-colored SUV. The men attacked Skinner as he walked home
alone along Adelaide Street. They knocked him to the ground, then
returned to the vehicle and the driver ran him over. He was rushed
to the hospital, but died while in surgery. Police believe as many
as 4 men were involved in the crime. Eyewitnesses say the driver was
wearing a tight black-colored tank top and a short “military style”
Detectives released three videos on
Saturday. One shows Skinner unsuccessfully hailing a cab at about
2:30AM, the second, shot 15 minutes later, shows him interacting with
a cell phone or MP3 player. The SUV in question is clearly shown in
the third video clip.
Police say Skinner could have been
hailing a cab when the SUV rolled by.
“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,” Detective Stacy Gallant said. “Maybe he walked out
into the middle of the roadway and caused this [SUV] to slow down,
and they took offense to that.”
Friends say Skinner was not one to
create trouble and continue to believe he might have been attacked
because of his sexual orientation. “I find that Toronto police
very rarely jump to the conclusion that homophobia exists,”
long-time friend Craig
Lund told gay weekly Xtra.ca.
At Sunday's vigil, people showed up
waving rainbow flags to show solidarity. The flags could also
symbolize that many believe Skinner was killed because he was gay.