UPDATE: Autopsy results in Waterloo fatal beating - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Autopsy results in Waterloo fatal beating

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Waterloo Police have released the autopsy results for a 19-year-old fatally beating. Marcellus Andrews died at an Iowa City hospital Saturday, a day after he was beaten in a Waterloo neighborhood. Officials say he died of blunt force trauma to his head

We've learned that more than one person is responsible in the fatal beating of Andrews.  The altercation happened in the 200-block of Cottage Street in Waterloo early Friday morning.  Police are now closing in on suspects, as the community is still trying to heal.

Friends and family of Marcellus Andrews have established a small memorial along Cottage Street, at the spot where he was attacked Friday morning.  His death has been especially tough on those at Union Missionary Baptist Church, where Andrews was involved with the Crusaders Drill Team.

"The whole community's feeling a sadness over something this tragic.  So we are all standing a great loss," said Rev. Marvin Jenkins, pastor of Union Missionary Baptist Church,

Police are still investigating just what happened to Andrews, but believe they've now talked with every person who either witnessed or was involved in the attack.

"Right now, it's to a point where it's a jigsaw puzzle.  And as we slowly put the puzzle together, a picture emerges.  I have no doubt there's going to be justice for Marcellus," said Dan Trelka,  Waterloo Safety Services Director.

Rumors are swirling through the community that Andrews may have been the victim of a hate crime, because of slurs that were shouted during the fight.  Police say they're investigating that possibility, but that regardless of the motive, the brutal attack was uncalled for.

"My opinion is, sadly, what does is it matter?  You know, we all bleed red.  All of us need to show more tolerance.  We need to embrace our diversity in Waterloo, every single aspect of it," Trelka said.

Meanwhile, Andrews' church family is offering counseling to his family and drilling teammates.  And they say his death is not in vain and should be a call to action to end violence in the community.

"There'll be many that'll come to say goodbye to him.  It'll be an opportunity to interject something positive:  to change and correct the mindset of your youth today, how they try to deal with their solutions and problems," Rev. Jenkins said.

Rev. Jenkins says there's another positive thing to come from Andrews' death.  He was an organ donor. 

His funeral is set for 11 a.m. at Union Baptist Church.  Visitation will take place Friday night from 5-7 p.m., also at the church.

Additional Note:

The group One Iowa has responded to the claims that Andrews' beating was a hate crime.  The group admits it has not independently confirmed those claims with his friends or family, it is solely basing its statements on media reports.  We talked with the group's director, Troy Price.  He also admits that the use of offensive language alone is not enough to declare an incident a hate crime, but says that doesn't excuse what happens.  One Iowa says the incident draws attention to the need for eliminating bias and encouraging tolerance.

"Tragedies like this underscore the incredible need to talk about issues affecting gay and lesbian Iowans and to fight for equality in our communities.  When community, state, and national leaders ridicule and deride gays and lesbians, it creates a hurtful environment and gives license to this sort of attack…We must do better, because we can never, ever allow an attack like this to take place in Iowa again," Price said.

After this story aired, KWWL did receive a phone call from Marcellus Andrews' sister.  She disputes these claims, saying her brother was not gay. 

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