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 Chisholms arms.Although some media called Websters 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 coroners report listed the cause of Websters death as a blow to the left side or back of the victims 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 Websters 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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