Gay rights activist, Raymond Taavel, intervened as a fight broke out between his friend and another man as they left Menz Bar, a known gay bar. Witnesses said the man was yelling homophobic slurs.
"He was consistently using the word faggot. That's what drew my attention to the situation in the first place," witness Wolf Engelberg told CTV Atlantic. Engelberg was in his bedroom, which overlooks the scene of the beating, when the incident took place. "There was a blatantly homophobic slant to the things in which he was saying and it was very clear that his primary issue was one with the man's sexuality."
Police have made an arrest over the death, but say it is too early to comment on whether a hate crime had taken place.
Mourners have since hung rainbow flags and held a vigil in the street where Taavel was killed.