A suburban Vancouver, Canada, man has been arrested in the fatal beating of Aaron Webster. Charges are pending against a 19-year-old Burnaby man in the clubbing death of Webster, 41, a photographer, who was attacked in an area popular with gay men in Vancouver's Stanley Park at about 2:30 a.m. on November 17, 2001, city police announced Wednesday. "I give the police a great deal of credit. I know it's been a very difficult case," said city council member Tim Stevenson, who is gay. "The community has been particularly traumatized by this murder. This case really horrified the community and brought people to action demanding that people be found."
Although investigators believed there were numerous witnesses, nobody had come forward previously, perhaps out of fear for their own lives, police said. Constable Sarah Bloor said she hopes the arrest will encourage witnesses to report what they know. "It's an extremely active investigation, and further arrests may be possible," Bloor said. "It's a matter of following up evidence that's been collected and evidence that's been prevented and go from there." She said prosecutors will decide on charges and whether the case against the young man in custody will be heard in adult court. Because he was 17 at the time, his name must be withheld unless he is tried as an adult.
Jim Deva, a community activist and co-owner of the Little Sister's Book and Art Emporium in Vancouver, welcomed the arrest as "a very good beginning" but added, "It doesn't solve the problem of homophobia and violence."