By Tara Cavanaugh
Marcellus Richard Andrews died Sunday, Aug. 21 due to severe head injuries he suffered in a fight, reported the Des Moines Register. He was 19.
The young man was a resident of Waterloo. According to the WCF Courier, Andrews was with two female friends when they decided to take a walk around 12:45 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 20. Andrews decided to stay behind and sit on the porch. The two friends, Nakita Wright and her cousin Tudia Simpson, returned to the home a few minutes later when they heard yelling from the house.
The Courier reported:
“They ran back and found a truck stopped in the street, and the occupants were taunting Andrews, calling him ‘faggot’ and ‘Mercedes,’ a feminization of his first name, Simpson said.
“The arguing and name calling continued, said Simpson, who admitted throwing the first punch.
“From there, the fight was on, with Nakita Wright and the others joining in, according to their account.”
After the fight – during which Andrews was beaten and kicked in the face – Simpson said Andrews appeared “dazed” and was unable to stand. Simpson called paramedics, who decided to send Andrews to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics by helicopter.
Waterloo Police are not investigating the incident as a hate crime.
“We’ve done multiple interviews and we have heard those allegations, but this was not because of his persuasion or the perception of his persuasion,” Waterloo police spokesman Lt. Michael McNamee told the Des Moines Register. “These were all people who knew each other, and there was some bad blood between the two parties involved.”
No arrests had been made and no warrants had been sought as of Tuesday.
Andrews was a captain of the Crusaders Drill Team, sponsored by Union Missionary Baptist Church. He planned to study interior design at Hawkeye Community College this fall.
The funeral was scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 27.
“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…We can and must do better, because we can never, ever allow an attack like this to take place in Iowa again.”