German police and public prosecutors announced on Friday that a 25-year-old transgender man identified as Malte C. has died of his injuries following a brutal attack at an LGBT+ Pride event in the western city of Münster.
News of Malte’s death sent shockwaves throughout the city of Münster and beyond, with politicians and LGBT+ rights campaigners urging for action to combat transphobia and homophobia in Germany.
What happened to Malte C.?
Last Saturday, at the edges of the city’s Pride festival, Malte had been defending a group of women from a man who was threatening them and verbally attacking them with homophobic language.
When Malte intervened, the assailant began punching him repeatedly, which ended with the victim falling on his head on the ground. He lost consciousness and was brought to a local hospital.
The attacker fled along with a companion and remained at large for several days.
What do we know about the suspect?
On Friday evening, Münster police announced that the suspected assailant had been detained.
In a statement, police said investigators examined eye-witness statements as well as picture and video evidence and were able to secure images of the suspect.
One homicide investigator recognized the 20-year-old at the main train station in Münster. She subsequently arrested him, according to the statement.
The suspect is due to appear before a judge on Saturday.
Outrage over man’s death
The city of Münster announced all public buildings will fly their flags at half-staff following Malte’s passing.
A memorial event in honor of the 25-year-old’s life will also be held later on Friday evening.
Nyke Slawik, one of the first openly trans people elected to Germany’s parliament, called the attack “horrifying” on Twitter and said that she was “in deep mourning” over the crime.
The Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany (LSVD) said they were angry and deeply concerned over the crime, as well as the way that the attack was described by prosecutors and police.
“We call on the investigating authorities to immediately name and classify this act as a hate crime” that was motivated by homophobia and transphobia, said Andre Lehmann, a member of the LSVD executive committee.
Alva Träbert, a queer-feminist researcher and member of the LSVD executive committee, said “our commemoration must not be a silent one” in the face of life-threatening violence.
“His death reminds too many of us once again that there are parts of society that deny us human dignity. We extend our full solidarity to those who also fear for their own safety following this crime,” Träbert said.