- A 42-year-old gay man was reportedly found dead in a park in Belgium.
- The man may have been killed after being lured to the park via Grindr, according to local news.
- Belgium Prime Minister Alexander De Croo flew an LGBTQ flag outside his office after the killing.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A 42-year-old man was allegedly beaten to death in Belgium, according to the Associated Press and Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. Local news outlets said the victim, whose body was found Sunday in a park near Antwerp, had been lured to the park by three teen boys who connected with him on the gay dating app Grindr, Pink News reported.
Belgian police arrested three teenagers in the case who remain in police custody, according to Pink News, citing a Monday statement from the public prosecutor of East Flanders.
The victim has been referred to as “David P.” by local media reports.
The prosecutor’s office investigating the incident told the Associated Press that the killing had not yet been classified as a hate crime.
A spokesperson for Grindr told Insider in a statement, “We are deeply saddened to learn of the murder of David P. This is a tragic and disturbing reminder of the hatred and violence faced by all-too-many people in the LGBTQ+ community, despite the many advances across the world. We stand ready to assist local authorities with their investigation of this matter.”
Several politicians and gay-rights advocacy groups in the country condemned the killing.
On Tuesday, De Croo appeared to allude to the killing in a tweet. “In our country, there is no place for hatred. Love wins,” he said, including a video that showed the LGBTQ flag waving outside his office. In a statement, according to the Associated Press, he said he felt “disgust. If it turns out that that person has been trapped based on his sexuality, this would be unacceptable. This is all that we as a society have to revolt against.”
—Alexander De Croo (@alexanderdecroo) March 9, 2021
Petra De Sutter, Belgium’s deputy prime minister and the first openly transgender minister in Europe, denounced the crime in a tweet on Monday.
“Disgust. Grief. Compassion. What drives people so far in their hatred that they kill a man just because he likes men,” De Sutter said. “Let’s condemn this cowardly murder in the strongest possible terms. And get rid of homo- and transphobia completely, also here with us.”
Jan Desmeth, the mayor of the municipality of Sint-Pieters-Leeuw, honored David, who used to be a crane operator, with a rainbow pedestrian crossing. “We will soon contact David’s family. After all, we also want to take their feelings and wishes into account,” Desmeth said, according to the Belgian news website NWS. “It feels a bit that ‘our’ crane operator has become the victim of this senseless violence.”
Gay dating apps have previously been used in homophobic attacks, both in the United States and around the globe. In Morroco, where homosexuality is still considered illegal, a social-media influencer encouraged women last year to partake in a trend of outing gay men by using gay dating apps. The trend led to acts of violence and made gay Moroccan men feel unsafe, as Insider previously reported.
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