Was Torontonian Chris Skinner Murdered Because He Was Gay?

Chris Skinner was killed after being beaten and driven over by an SUV at 3 am on Sunday at Victoria and Adelaide Streets in the eastern part of downtown Toronto after a birthday celebration for his sister. He later died in the hospital. Skinner was gay. Toronto authorities are apparently not investigating if his murder may have been a result of his sexual orientation, and that has some of his friends concerned:

Skinner "'It was unfathomable that it happened the way it did,' Robert Moorhouse told ctvtoronto.ca Tuesday, adding that one of the Toronto Police Service homicide detectives has said it is pure speculation to think Skinner's sexual orientation played a role. … 'He has no history of violence. I've known him six or seven years, and I've never known him to pick a fight,' he said.

'If there were some verbal taunt directed towards him, Chris may have responded in kind,' Moorhouse said. 'What has caused me sleepless nights is just trying to visualize what happened at the end,' he said.

Fights happen, but 'the fact is they actually left him on the street and then drove over him,' he said. 'To actually get into an SUV and deliberately run somebody open, to extinguish their life, that has no justification…Either [police] know more than they are saying and they are just trying to
dampen down speculation, or they are just being wilfully blind to the
fact that gays and lesbians suffer violence on our downtown streets on
a regular basis."

Xtra reports: "The number of attackers has not been confirmed, but it is believed
there were at least two and possibly three or four. The make and model
of the SUV and its licence plate number were not yet known, but police
will be combing over surveillance video from the area to see if it can
be determined…Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Stacy Gallant at
416−808−7410 and Detective Doug Dunstan at 416−808−7406, or Crime
Stoppers anonymously at 416−222−8477 or online at www.222tips.com."


  1. Mitch Shea says

    I guess the gay “community” can’t defend itself, even in the face of murderers.

    Just imagine if gay people took the same amount of time learning about concealed weapons laws, how to properly use firearms, organizing community watch and self-defense groups, and how to defend themselves against close-quarters attacks as they did doing a million other things that were distractions, like drowning in lowest-common-denominator pop culture and other bullshit. Yes, I’m blaming ourselves. This has been a problem for decades, and it’s yet ANOTHER lesson of the civil rights movement we seem unwilling to learn. We need to think and act and behave as a group and believe that no one will ever lay a hand on us or any of our friends or family for any reason, ever.

    “We declare our right on this earth to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.” – El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz Malcolm X

  2. New Jersey Girl says

    Yes, Another vicious stinking horrific murder of a gay person.

    Sure you can say “But we DON’T KNOW that it’s a gay hate crime murder” and then you would have to say “because most normal street fights end up with the victim, gay or straight being RUN OVER by a car. Happens everyday”.

    And of course you would be living in denial.

    They are at war with us. A war they started. Your government won’t protect you, your police are laughing at you, and your churches are stoking the hate to begin with.

    Had enough yet, Bros and sisters?
    Time to BASH BACK. Don’t wait. Pick a fight. Come prepared and lay some dumb-ass hillbilly white straight boy and his trailer park trash girlfriend out.

    They find it empowering when they do it.

    I promise you, so will you.

  3. Mitch Shea says

    Aw Jersey Girl, I was with you until you started with the name calling. I mean, why pick on trailer trash like myself? We gotta elevate and educate, sister. See, the problem with saying “kill whitey” in 1967 was that many whiteys were actually working pretty hard for African American rights. So the next time you see a brother in a pickup truck driving around his trailer park, don’t be surprised if he’s a card-carrying member of IGRA.

  4. griffin1573 says

    May he rest in peace.

    But hold the phone for a moment.
    No one knows yet what the reason for the fight was.
    Just because the man was gay does not make it a gay bashing.
    People get mugged every where in every city.
    And I’am in no way defending these henous buch of pond scum.

    How about letting the cops investigate what happened before we jump to conclusions.
    That area has a lot of cameras focused in.

    And of course there not going to say everything they may or may not know to the public.
    It’s an investigation…if you want to catch the bastards.
    Don’t say to much till you know.
    If it’s a gay bashing…we have hate crimes laws.

    Taken to soon,may he find peace.

  5. JT says

    I know Andrew Towle makes money off of every post made on his blog, but I think he should show some character and ban this person posting under “new jersey girl.”

  6. Toronto gay says

    I live, work and am raising kids (with my partner) in downtown toronto. I have never felt unsafe for being a gay man. That said…rowdy, suburban, drunken fools bombard the downtown area on Friday and Sat night.

    I am shocked and disappointed that this happened here.

    His obit was in the local paper today…
    Whenever you see the wind ruffle in the trees, he is with you. Whenever the snow drifts down lightly, he is with you. Whenever you feel the sun warm your shoulders, you have felt the touch of Christopher. Mothers and Fathers – go home and hug your kids, for they are only lent to you….

    I did not know Chris but he was clearly loved.

    I cried having my morning coffee.

  7. Dickster says

    The Toronto Police Service NEVER reveal what they know about a case while they are investigating — unless it is in their interest to do so. So, stay tuned.

    And unless the perp declares in court “I killed him because he’s gay” the Crown wont request sentencing as a hate crime. Most likely they will trade the hate crimes designation for a guilty plea. Sucks – I know.

  8. Thunder says

    what did that ‘griffin1573′ mean when he said; may Chris Skinner rest-in-peace, he should not have to RIP, he should be here today physically enjoying life, not RIP, way too young for that.

    Toronto Police and Police across this North America do not give a hoot one bit if another gay oriented wo/man is killed, they just look at it as one-less inconvenience, one-less problem for them to deal with. Toronto Police are not human, they have no feelings, no guts, nothing, just a bunch of dickheads who had nothing in their heads for brain, nonwhatsoever.

    Chris’s life was cut short when he should have been enjoying the best years of his adulthood to prime.

    I pray he’s an Angel singing with them.

    his family, friends are in my spiritual thoughts.

  9. Avenger says

    Christopher was a long time friend of mine.

    The circumstances surrounding this savage murder ONLY point toward HATRED. Whether hated for being gay, or otherwise is to be determined, or perhaps it will never be.

    One fact remains, no human with compassion or concern for another, brutally assaults (in a group) another person and while they are still on the ground proceeds to get into their vehicle and run over their victim.

    Only hate can be motive for such an atrocity. There is no other reasonable explanation, aside from total mental incapacity.

    I hope there is no rest and no peace for anyone until this murder is solved and avenged. Find these cowards, punish them, show them what a bashing feels like. Show them slowly and intricately what it feels like to be run over by a car. Toe by toe, limb by limb, slowly drive a car over their body and then before you kill them, only mutilating them enough to leave them without their arms or legs, lock them in a cell and throw away the key.

  10. anonymous says

    Let’s jump to our own conclusions even before the surveillance footage has been analyzed, because obviously we have all the facts by virtue of being gay and Christopher being gay. If a gay man dies, anywhere and for any reason, it’s a hate crime. Let’s go torture and murder straight people, because that’s justice, right Avenger? But that isn’t a hate crime, because you can’t hate non-gays. I’m so glad being gay makes us immune to getting drunk and saying stupid things, while projecting a sobering effect on others so all their actions are rational and intentional.

    What a bunch of bullshit, Andy. I’m disappointed at the bait, and disappointed by how many people here were snagged by it.

    I think it’s time I took a break from Towelroad.

  11. Timebunny says

    Thank you anonymous – finally someone with a clear view. And for those of you advocating violence you’ve obviously missed the entire point. Advocacy, voices, protest but never, everv violence.

  12. JT says

    Anonymous : It IS Andrew Towle’s personal blog, so he can take whatever point of view he wants on any case. And like with everyone who makes money off of a blog, sometimes printing controversial statements pays off, because even people posting to angrily denounce the story are still posting- therefore bringing in money for the blog owner. The best punishment for a blogger one hates is to stay away from the blog for a while. Or at least severely lessen your visits to it.

  13. griffin1573 says


    Get your head out of your ass.

    It was a terrible,horrible act.
    The culprites need to be found and punished.
    I in no way lessened this poor mans death.
    Just wished him peace.

  14. Richard Posner says

    Booo Hooo. “Hi I’m JT, and I’m offended by NJG’s Posts… ban her!”

    The other posts clearly indicate that the people who actually knew Chris know that he was killed because of being gay AND that the Toronto police will behave exactly as the US Police would, which is to ignore the motive because of their inherant Homophobia.

    So to JT and others who are offended by NJG’s stance of Bashing Back:

    When YOUR number comes up and you are facing a homophobe with a baseball bat, filled with hate for no other reason than what you are, you’re gonna wish there was a history of gays bashing back – because then he’d think twice about swinging his bat your way.

    Deal with it.

  15. says

    Well , It was a realy evil , hatefull crime
    they could have just beat him up and sped off
    chris would be alive today , if they had not ran over him
    I don’t care what the police say , to me This type of crime is a hate crime ! Police in Toronto are now saying , Chris provoked them by ” tapping on the SUV ” as they drove by him , I say that’s BS ! Like the police would release those details if that were true ! I hope these guys once caught
    go to jail for hell of a long time ! What am I saying ? This is Canada ! They will serve no more then a couple of years , jail for the driver , probation for the rest , what a shame ,

  16. Kyle Brough says

    I’ve known Chris since we went to high school together. We lost touch as adults, as I stayed in Uxbridge and he moved to T.O. The guy wore his sexuality on his sleeve, which to me was courageous and admirable. I have witnessed several times when Chris was harassed or made fun of because because he was clearly a gay man.

    The fact that the police are trying to avoid calling this even a hate-crime sends chills up my spine. They are intentionally ignoring reels of testimony from friends and family as to Chris’s personality, and if the police would listen they would understand that Chris has been a victim of hate several times before.

    Why would anyone run a fellow human being over with an suv, with the intention of killing, unless it was fueled by some sort of hate.

    At this point it is wrong for the law to assume a hate crime; however, in the end, I think we all know what is behind this crime.

    Kyle Brough

  17. Kyle Brough says

    I also would like to throw out a profile of the area that this crime took place in. This happened on Adelaide, which the call the entertainment district, but really that street gets flooded with drunk, drugged, testosterone induced young clubbers at around 2am on weekends. This site has been the site of fatal aggression before; shooting, stabbings, gang altercations. It is THE area of toronto that is descended upon by aggressive young straight men every weekend. The Church Street for straight people.

    Enter a very open gay man into that environment.


  18. Kyle Brough says

    Now the police are trying to insinuate that Chris initiated this confrontation. They allege that he stuck out his into on coming traffic and slapped the on-coming suv. From the cctv tape, you can see how fast the black suv is moving, why would chris stick his hand in front of such a speeding vehicle?

    Chris never provoked people. It is why my heart alsways went out to him, because he was a very normal person that others liked to target.

    I think a more likely scenario for the events on Oct 18, 2009 are as follows: The suv was carrying four drunk, young clubbers that saw chris and honked or yelled “faggot” or something common at him. Chris, maybe a little drunk himself, stuck his hand out in retaliation. This was exactly the sign of defiance that the young clubbers needed to unload their doped-up sexual aggression on an innocent human being.

  19. Kyle says

    Kyle Brough – I agree 100% with you. it’s appalling that the cops are trying to say that he instigated it. How can someone intentionally running over an incapacitated person with an SUV NOT be motivated by hate?

    I just got back from the candlelight vigil tonight, which was attended by what must have been close to a thousand people. Very moving and the anger towards the perpetrators was palpable.

    A shame that they’ll probably get off with minimal jail time, what worse is that most people I spoke to tonight have low expectations of who ever did this get the sentence they truly deserve.

  20. says

    It’s an investigation ! And maybe we should just trust the police
    with their ” Tap Tap Motive ” yes I saw the video to
    and I don’t believe the Chris Tapped the SUV
    the SUV side swiped him , he is injured looking after that
    I have four candles buring right now , LGBT , I have a dream that someday , we shall shed less tears , we shall live in less fear , and we shall burn four candles , for Love gained not lost ! Iam
    YouTues Orphan Gordie

  21. John in Bostom says

    Shit happens at 3AM in locations like where Mr. Skinner was killed. Is it far fetched to believe a (drunken?) altercation occurred, words were exchanged, it escalated to Mr. Skinner’s death? This is not unusual or uncommon, for gays, str8s, whomever, except for the being run over part.

    Too bad Canadian sentencing laws are relatively lax. These guys under similar circumstances in the U.S. would receive more severe sentences.

  22. Rex says

    I think that any gay man that has ever walked a city street – particularly at night – and had the chill of fear slowly – or suddenly – overshadow them, intuitively felt the “hate crime” aspect of this story almost as soon as we saw the initial headline and Chris’s photo last Monday. Why we might feel this is indeed a hard thing to argue and to “prove”. Our “intuition” in response to this terrible event immediately pushed forward this “gut feeling” into our conscious thoughts (what some may see as a rushing to judgment).

    I am reminded of the scene in “Brokeback Mountain” where Jack’s widow is relating over the phone to Ennis the “facts” of Jack’s “accidental” death (when “a tire he was changing blew up”). Suddenly we see a quick shot of the beating of Jack with a tire iron by unknown thugs – with the understanding that we are also seeing Ennis’s “gut feeling” on how Jack actually died…

    Such “instincts” can’t of course be submitted as evidence, but our lives actions and thoughts at some level remain dependent on them for their direction – and our protection.

    The instinct for us to stand together and bear witness – against all manner of violence, for protection of the rule of law, and of civilized behavior – is also very real, as the vigil on Sunday night clearly showed. I for one am still feeling the effects of it. The world seems just a little less dark somehow…

    While struggling to comprehend such a loss, my thoughts are with all of those who knew and loved Chris Skinner personally…

    “Grief is the price we pay for Love…”

  23. says

    We need to reach out to the guys responsable for Chris Skinners death , one of you must feel so guilty & remorseful at this time , u realy should come forward 
    even if just one of you , You are in Canada , your not going to get a death sentence , You can’t hide for ever 
    Talk to a lawyer , talk to your Mom , does your Mom know what you did ? I am sure it would break her heart ! Even more so if you didn’t turn yourself in , A Mom will always love her son !

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