From the outset, Toronto's 43rd homicide of 2009 stirred speculation it was a hate crime - a deliberate hit-and-run, committed because the victim was gay.
Certainly, relatives and friends of 27-year-old Christopher Skinner have suggested that's what may have happened.
But video footage aired on the weekend points to a different scenario: That when Mr. Skinner was beaten and then run over by a black SUV eight days ago in the downtown core, the confrontation was sudden, unplanned and triggered by his efforts to hail a cab.
The clip is one of three that police hope will shed light on what Detective Stacy Gallant of the homicide squad describes as one of the most cowardly murders he has ever seen.
Taken between 2:30 a.m. and 3 a.m. last Sunday, the three video clips show Mr. Skinner at different points on Adelaide Street downtown, looking for a taxi.
He had spent the evening celebrating his sister's birthday and was heading home.
The first piece of footage is from 2:36 a.m., in the entertainment district, where Mr. Skinner is seen waving unsuccessfully at a cab and then walking east.
Fifteen minutes later, still walking, he is glimpsed looking at a cellphone, or perhaps an iPod.
The third and longest clip finds him just east of Yonge Street, close to where he was killed.
The video is grainy, but appears to show him standing in a lane that has been closed for construction. About 20 seconds into the clip, the black SUV drives by.
As it did so, police believe some sort of contact occurred, causing the car to stop.
"We believe Mr. Skinner was still attempting to hail a cab and he may have intentionally or unintentionally struck the suspect vehicle with his hand or a part of his body," Det. Gallant said.
"Maybe he walked out into the middle of the roadway and caused this [SUV]to slow down, and they took offence to that.'' Four people are believed to have been in the suspect vehicle, driven by a white or light skinned male in his 20s, with a short, military-style haircut, clad in a black tank top, dark jeans and laced boots.
And at least two, including the driver, are believed to have gotten out of the car and beaten Mr. Skinner, leaving him on the ground.
Then, according to witness accounts, the driver got back in the car and deliberately ran over Mr. Skinner with both the front and rear wheels, before gunning the engine and speeding away.
"I've never seen one quite like this in my 10 years at the homicide squad," Det. Gallant said. "They intended to drive over him."
In an interview with CTV yesterday, Mr. Skinner's grieving parents urged the culprits to hire lawyers and turn themselves in.
"You talk about the driver, he means nothing to me, he's not even human," his mother, Ellen, said. "A human has a heart and a soul and knows the difference between right and wrong."
A number of people saw all or some of the incident first-hand. The third video clip goes on to show a number of stationary cars whose drivers have stopped to watch.
They are being urged to contact police.