This Greek Drag Queen Was Murdered While Allegedly Trying to Rob an Athens Jewelry Store
A Greek drag queen is dead after what media outlets are reporting was a botched robbery attempt at a jewelry store in Athens. Police are claiming LGBTQ activist Zak Kostopoulos, known professionally as Zachie Oh, entered the store in Omonia Square on Friday afternoon carrying a knife and intending to commit robbery. But the owner reportedly stepped outside the store, locking Kostopoulos inside, and when Kostopoulos realized the door had locked behind him he began to panic.
Surveillance video shows Kostopoulos trying to break the front window with a fire extinguisher as two men attack him from outside.
As Kostopoulos crawled through broken glass to get outside the store, the men (one of whom is believed to be the store owner) repeatedly kicked him in the head. Out on the sidewalk, both civilians and police allegedly continued hitting and stomping on him.
Paramedics attempted first aid but Kostopoulos, 33, died while en route to the hospital.
According to Neo Kosmos, the shopkeeper has been arrested but the second assailant is still at large. According to his attorney, the store owner had been the victim of robbery before and was only trying to protect his property.
Activists dispute that version of events and are labeling the incident a hate crime. It’s also not clear why police continued to beat Kostopoulos even after he was handcuffed.
In addition to being a Greek drag queen, Kostopoulos — as Zachie Oh — was active in gender and gay rights. Open about being HIV-positive, he also worked with Positive Voice, Greece’s leading HIV/AIDS group. Nearly 500 people attended a vigil in his honor on Saturday night.
On social media, friends and allies also mourned his passing.