DES MOINES, Iowa --- A marriage equality/gay rights group has released a statement on the beating death of Marcellus Richard Andrews, the teenager who died Sunday as the result of a beating early Friday in Waterloo.
No arrests have been made in the death of Andrews, 19. But witnesses to the beating said he was caught up in a fight in the 200 block of Cottage Street, and that slurs were made toward Andrews about his sexual orientation.
Police have not said whether the slurs were a motive in the attack, saying they are still interviewing witnesses to determine what happened.
"We are deeply saddened by the brutal and tragic death of Marcellus. This is just not something that happens in Iowa and we are appalled at this level of extreme violence and intolerance," said Troy Price, One Iowa Executive Director.
"Tragedies like this underscore the incredible need to talk about issues affecting gay and lesbian Iowans and to fight for equality in our communities. When community, state, and national leaders ridicule and deride gay and lesbians, it creates a hurtful environment and gives license to this sort of attack.
"Most importantly, it harms lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) young people by sending the message that they are not equal. We can and must do better, because we can never, ever allow an attack like this to take place in Iowa again."
Nate Monson, executive director of Iowa Safe Schools said "Andrew's tragic death points the crucial need for us to address anti-LGBT bullying in our schools because, sadly, this is literally a life or death issue. We must ensure that LGBT children feel safe and supported in their school and community. Iowa Safe Schools is committed to creating a more safe and supportive state for all Iowa kids."