Suspect in O’Shae Sibley murder case likely to claim self-defense in voguing dancer’s death at Brooklyn gas station


NEW YORK — A teen accused of fatally stabbing a gay Black man during a standoff at a Brooklyn gas station will likely tell jurors he was defending himself, his lawyer said Friday.

Dmitriy Popov, 17, has been indicted on murder as a hate crime charges in the July 29 stabbing death of dancer O’Shae Sibley at the Mobil station on Coney Island Avenue near Avenue P in Midwood.

Sibley, 28, was killed after a confrontation involving a crowd that objected when Sibley and his friends began dancing and performing vogue moves near the gas pumps.

Cops said Popov plunged a knife into Sibley’s chest after spewing racial and homophobic slurs at him and his friends.

Popov had pleaded not guilty.

“I strongly suspect we will be going self-defense, that he had a reasonable ground to reasonably believe that he had to defend himself in this situation,” said Popov’s lawyer, Mark Pollard, after a hearing in Brooklyn Supreme Court. “A lot of things the DA’s office has said actually work in my favor.”

Popov surrendered with his lawyer on Aug. 4 after a week on the lam during which he shaved his head and shut off his phone in a failed attempt to evade the law, prosecutors said.

Pollard declined to comment about the haircut, but said his client did not participate in any hate speech.

“I suspect that other people did that were not arrested,” Pollard said. “I don’t know why. But he did not.”

Pollard also clarified that Popov is Christian. Early reports identified the attacker as Muslim and as part of a Muslim crowd that said the dancing offended their faith.

Sibley, 28, and his friends were returning from a trip to the Jersey Shore, and pulled over to get gas. They spent the next few minutes blaring Beyoncé songs and voguing — making exaggerated poses — near the gas pumps.

Beyoncé later paid tribute to Sibley on her website.

Popov faces a minimum of 20 years and a maximum of 25 years in jail to life if convicted,

In the caught-on-camera confrontation, a teen believed to be Popov can be seen taking a video of the dancers. Sibley appeared to object to something he said and confronted him in front of the station’s convenience store.

Pollard said Popov has been struggling with Sibley’s death.

“He’s sorrowful. He’s sad. He’s afraid, as he should be at 17 years old,” Pollard said. “But he has faith and he prays and he has great family support and he’s hanging in there.

“He regrets what happened. He certainly does. But it doesn’t mean he’s guilty of a crime. It’s two different things. But yes, he certainly regrets everything that happened.”

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