By Daryl Hannah, GLAAD Media Field Strategist
A man identified as 36-year old Paul Michalik was found murdered early Sunday morning in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Michalik, who was last seen attending a party at the home of Brian Paul Brothers, was beaten to death by Brothers, in front of his partner of 17-years, allegedly because he was gay.
Wane.com reports that deputies with the Allen County Sheriff’s Department were called around 4:00 a.m. to investigate a disturbance. When they arrived, they found Michalik dead.
“According to court documents filed in Allen Superior Court Monday, Michalik and Jerry Lee Chambers, were at a party at Brian Paul Brothers’ House Sunday morning when the two were beaten up by Brothers,” reports Wane. Com.
News reports stated that Brothers kicked and punched both Michalik and his partner Chambers repeatedly with his hands and feet.
The Journal Gazette also reported that court documents also showed “a witness told police he [Chambers] and Michalik were beaten up by Brothers because of their sexual orientation.”
To Sylvia Tyszler, a friend of Michalik, the incident was clearly a hate crime.
“He was my best friend,” Tyszler told The News- Sentinel. “This is a big thing. It’s a hate crime – the guy was killed because he was gay. He will be “missed by thousands,” Tyszler said. “Just because somebody is gay doesn’t mean that they deserve to be beaten to death. The world has lost a great man.”
Local LGBT organizations are demanding the police charge the incident a hate crime. Police said Monday that the murder remains under investigation and would not confirm whether the slaying would be charged as a hate crime.
GLAAD thanks the Indiana media for its fair and accurate coverage of this horrible incident. GLAAD has also reached out local media and local LGBT organizations to provide support.