The frenzied mob that mercilessly beat Samuel Luiz to death were cheered on as they did, a Spanish police source has claimed.
Luiz, a 24-year-old nursing assistant, was found battered and bloody about 150 metres away from a nightclub in A Coruña, a town in the northwest region of Galicia, last Saturday (3 June).
As the country’s national police force announced the arrest of four people in connection to Luiz’s death, a picture has begun to emerge from surveillance footage of how a simple misunderstanding erupted into a brutish act of violence.
The attack first saw Luiz be struck by a single person who assumed Luiz was filming him and a friend – Luiz was simply on a video call – before they returned with 12 more people who together beat him to death.
Policía Nacional sources close to the investigation told El País that security camera recordings outside Andén, the club which Luiz went to that night, and local businesses revealed that Luiz desperately tried to get away from his 13 attackers.
“The man tried to escape on a number of occasions,” the source claimed, describing how the attackers chased and beat Luiz from the nightclub and along two blocks on Avenida Bos Aires.
“He fell and got up as many as three times,” the source continued, “he managed to cross the street, but they caught up with him again and carried on beating him.”
As Samuel Luiz was kicked to death, a crowd ‘cheered’ his attackers on
The source described the death of Samuel Luiz almost like a “human pack kicking a youngster for more than 150 metres down a street”.
As the brawl broke out and continued across the road, a crowd gathered and “cheered” on the people that pelted Luiz to the ground.
“There were a lot of people, men and women, and they didn’t assault him but they did cheer on those who were,” the source said.
They kept punching and kicking Luiz until he “fell to the floor” almost as “if he were dead”.
“They showed him no mercy,” they added, noting that “between six and 10 people [were] still kicking” Luiz, “who could barely defend himself”.
All four of the assailants arrested so far – three men and one woman – are aged between 20 and 25 and are residents of A Coruña, the force has confirmed. Sources say that the four all know each other.
While the victim’s friends and advocates claim that the assault was fuelled by homophobia, investigators so far remain hesitant to consider it as much, the source said.
The attack was sparked because one of the attackers thought Luiz “insulted” him, the source stressed, “not due to his sexual orientation – they didn’t know each other, they had never seen each other before”.
The investigation remains ongoing, police said in a social media statement Tuesday, “until the facts are fully clarified.
Although, Lina, a friend of Samuel Luiz who witnessed the scuffle, told El Mundo that she heard one of the assailants say: “Either stop recording or I’ll kill you, f*g.”
Only hours later in València, two other young gay men were targeted by a group of about a dozen thugs. The two men, both 21, were both left battered after the 12 men pushed the pair to the ground, making off with one of their mobile phones.
“All I ask is that you love us alone,” Alejandro, one of the victims left with a burst lip, told LaMarea.com.
“I have always received insults for being gay and it is already normalised, but we are seeing more cases of homophobic attacks each.
“We must be brave and denounce it to make ourselves visible, because who knows who the victim may be tomorrow.”