Spanish police have arrested three people in connection to the brutal murder of a male nursing assistant in a suspected homophobic attack that prompted protests across the country.
Samuel Luiz, 24, was fatally beaten outside a nightclub in Galicia, Spain after a man threatened him using homophobic slurs.
The investigation into Luiz’s death is ongoing and no motive has been ruled out — including the possibility that it was a homophobic crime — according to Jose Minones, the government’s chief delegate to northwest Spain.
Samuel Luiz, a 24-year-old nursing assistant, was out with friends in the Galician City at 3am on Saturday 3rd July. Samuel was brutally murdered following a homophobic attack. He heard homophobic slurs as he took his last breath. THIS NEEDS TO STOP NOW! #JusticeForSamuel 🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/a5u82dEaLk
— PCSO 211 Jordan Coulthard (@WYP_PCSO211) July 7, 2021
“A judge will decide if this was a hate crime,” Minones told Spain’s SER radio in an interview on Wednesday.
The two men and one woman who are under arrest, ages 20 to 25, were suspected of direct participation in the attack, according to Minones.
A witness identified by her first name Lina — who claimed to be a friend of Luiz — told Spanish media that a homophobic slur was used at the outset of the attack.
Luiz, who worked at a senior citizens home, was beaten to death by people who punched and kicked him, a spokeswoman in Minones’ office told CNN.
The incident began outside a nightclub on the Riazor beach in A Coruna, according to the spokeswoman. Samuel’s friends told leading Spanish newspaper, El Mundo, that he had stepped out of the club to make a video call when two men accused him of trying to film them on his phone. Luiz explained he was talking to a friend by video, but he was allegedly attacked by one of the passersby and left with a badly bruised face.
Five minutes later, the assailant allegedly returned with 12 others who beat Luiz into unconsciousness. Ambulance crew attempted to revive Luiz at the scene and then took him to hospital where he later died on Saturday morning, the spokeswoman added.
The suspected hate crime has sparked protests in Madrid, Barcelona, A Coruna and numerous other Spanish cities this week, drawing thousands who denounced attacks on the LBGTQ community.
Thousands of LGTBIQ+ activists protest in Barcelona (Spain) over the death of Samuel Luiz (24), who was attacked outside a nightclub last weekend in A Coruña. #SamuelLuiz pic.twitter.com/AmfKXIRj0y
— Adrián Sánchez Berger (@sanchezberger) July 5, 2021
Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, condemned the killing and offered his condolences to Luiz’s friends and family. “I’m confident that the police investigation will soon find those who murdered Samuel and shed light on what happened,” he tweeted on Monday. “It was a savage and merciless act. We will not take a step backwards when it comes to rights and freedoms and Spain will not tolerate this.”
Confío en que la investigación de @policia dé pronto con los autores del asesinato de Samuel y esclarezca los hechos. Fue un acto salvaje y despiadado.
No daremos ni un paso atrás en derechos y libertades. España no lo va a tolerar. Todo mi apoyo a su familia y seres queridos.
— Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) July 5, 2021