A 28-year-old man, a popular bartender in the village, was tied to a lamppost, beaten and set on fire. Stuart Walker died in a violent, horrific way that has shocked the small town. Though the police do not know why he was murdered, many people point to one possible motive: a hate crime. Walker was gay.

The brutal death evokes memories of Matthew Shepard, the man murdered in 1998 and tied to a fence in Wyoming.

The Telegraph reports Walker was out with friends, who last saw him about 2:30 in the morning. His charred body was discovered two and a half hours later.

On Twitter and Facebook, there has been an outpouring of anger of the death, with #RIPStuartWalker trending around the world, and Facebook pages dedicated to the man. One, started by someone identified as Walker’s cousin, writes of the “classical comedian” who always “put a smile on my face.”