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Iowa Teen's Death a "Wake-Up Call"

Iowa Teen's Death a "Wake-Up Call"

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The brutal beating of a Waterloo, Iowa, teenager who was taunted with antigay slurs and ultimately died of his injuries is a "wake-up call" for the state, according to one local LGBT rights group.

Marcellus Andrews, 19, was taken off life support Sunday at an Iowa City hospital following severe head injuries sustained in the early Friday morning attack, which was preceded by a verbal altercation between Andrews and unknown assailants who called him "faggot," according to witnesses.

"The language that was used during this attack is very alarming and very concerning to us," One Iowa executive director Troy Price told Radio Iowa. "Regardless of how the investigation turns out as to whether this was a hate crime or not, the fact is there was derogatory, hurtful, and harmful language. This person was taunted for what appears to be his perceived sexuality."

Police have yet to make any arrests in the case and said that they were not sure whether the attack was motivated by antigay animus. "We've heard those allegations," Waterloo Police lieutenant Michael McNamee said. "We're not ruling that out. We're looking at every aspect of what went on that night. At this point, I don't know if that necessarily has anything to do with the altercation."

Read the story here.

Below, One Iowa's press release on the death of the Waterloo teen.

Des Moines, IA--On Sunday at 3:30 pm, 19-year-old Marcellus Richard Andrews died after a brutal and violent beating. Friends and family who were involved in the incident confirmed that the attackers were shouting anti-gay slurs as they severely beat Andrews. He died later at an Iowa City hospital from head injuries sustained during the beating. Andrews was enrolled to begin his studies in interior design at Hawkeye Community College in the fall.

"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."

"Our prayers and thoughts go to Marcellus' family, friends, and the Waterloo community. No one deserves this. Enough youth have hurt each other and themselves over differences, bullying, harassment, and taunting," said Nate Monson, Iowa Safe Schools Executive Director. "Andrews' 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 creating a more safe and supportive state for all Iowa kids."

One Iowa and Iowa Safe Schools are committed to working together with allies across the state and nation to make our schools and communities safer for our LGBT children.

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Iowa Teen's Death a "Wake-Up Call"

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