The June beating death of a gay man will be reclassified as a hate crime, Tucson police said Tuesday. Officials initially said there wasn't enough evidence to show that the death of Philip A. Walsted had been the result of a hate crime. But Sgt. Marco Borboa, a Tucson police spokesman, said statements made in interviews have led authorities to believe that the killing was motivated by Walsted's sexual orientation.
Walsted was found beaten near his home on June 12. A week later David A. Higdon, 20, was charged with first-degree murder after some of the victim's possessions were found at Higdon's home.
Borboa would not say what specific information led investigators to believe that the beating was a hate crime. He said police have recorded 20 hate crimes this year, down from 48 in 2001.