The six suspects, aged between 16 and 23, have confessed to the Jan. 26 killing of Bruno Borges de Oliveira.
Oliveira was attacked in the early morning hours after returning from the gay friendly Frei Caneca shopping mall, said São Paulo police, in a statement. The gang attacked Oliveria and two friends, who managed to escape and notify the police.
They stole Olivera’s shoes, mobile phone, and public transport ticket before punching, kicking and reportedly hitting his head with a skateboard.
“When we came back he was already dead,” reported one of his friends, who preferred to remain unidentified.
Police initially insisted that Oliveria’s murder was due to a robbery, despite his family repeatedly stating that the motivation was homophobic. It has since been reported that on the night that Oliveira was murdered, the gang attacked at least three people gay people.
According to police general Wagner Giudice, gang members confessed to another anti-gay attack just 90 minutes prior to murdering Oliveria.
Police said the gang had been targeting LGBT people in recent weeks, carrying out a series raids against people leaving São Paulo gay nightclubs.
Article continues below“They chose their victims for being gay,” police spokesman Ruy Ferraz Fontes told the daily Folha de São Paulo.
“They stole the victim’s belongings as part of a ritual of humiliation,” he said.
Authorities have released photos of the suspects and said they expected more victims to come forward.
Sergio Viula, a journalist and LGBT rights activist, told LGBTQ Nation that “a staggering 44 percent of all worldwide violent crimes against LGBT people carried out in 2012 were committed In Brazil.”
“Last year we saw well over 300 LGBT people murdered, with 34 people killed this January alone (2014),” he said.
“If Brazil won’t protect its own LGBT citizens, how could we expect it to guarantee the safety of visitors to the World Cup Games and Olympics that are to be held here?” he said.
Brazil is scheduled to host the 2014 soccer World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.