Aaron Webster (June 1959 - November 17, 2001) was a gay man living in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, who was beaten by a group of men close to a gay cruising area in a woody part of Stanley Park near Second Beach on November 17, 2001. According to reports, the youths came across a nearly naked Webster and chased him to a parking area, where they beat him with baseball bats. After the beating, Webster was found beside a path in the park by his close friend Tim Chisholm, and died within minutes in Chisholm's arms. Although some media called Webster's killing the first gay-related murder in Canadian history, much like the Matthew Shepard incident in the United States it was merely the first to attract widespread media attention. The coroner's report listed the cause of Webster's death as "a blow to the left side or back of the victim's neck. This blow caused a tear to the vertebral artery which resulted in a massive and rapidly fatal hemorrhage at the base of the brain." A march and vigil was organized by Little Sisters Bookstore co-owner Jim Deva, and took place the day after the killing, with hundreds of people marching through the streets of downtown Vancouver toward the site of Webster's death. Another rally, including British Columbia Human Rights Commissioner Mary-Woo Sims, was held several weeks later. Vigils were also held in several other Canadian cities. The killing was widely covered in the national news in Canada, and led to significant controversy around whether the attack constituted a hate crime. The incident also received some coverage in the mainstream media in the United States, although gay media reported it far more prominently.
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