Giovanni Melton, a 14-year-old boy from Henderson, Nevada, in the US was allegedly murdered by his own father on Thursday (2 November) for being gay.
Wendell Melton, a 53-year-old former employee of United Airlines, has been arrested and is being held on charges of murder, child abuse, and prohibited person possessing a firearm.
Henderson police said that on Thursday afternoon, Wendell used one of the six guns he kept in his house to shoot his son Giovanni Melton.
He then called the police at around midnight who found Giovanni shot. The boy was taken to St Rose Dominican hospital where he later died.
According to neighbours, Giovanni and his older brother were living alone and would often ask for food from them.
Court records reportedly reveal that the two boys were abandoned by their mother and the father had previously faced allegations of child abuse.
Wendell had also faced charges involving illegal firearms, LGBTQ Nation website reported.
Sonja Jones, who identified herself as Giovanni’s former foster mother, said that Wendell hated the fact that his son was gay.
Jones also said that she was told by another family member that one reason for the shooting was Giovanni’s sexual orientation.
“He hated the fact that his son was gay. I’m sure that inside of his mind, he would rather have a dead son than a gay son.”
“Giovanni was abused physically and mentally and spiritually for many, many years,” she told News3LV website.
“I’m hearing his dad had caught him with his boyfriend before and pulled out a gun on him.”
“I hope they throw the book at him. I hope he never sees the light of day,” Jones said about Giovanni’s father. “I hope every day when he looks in the mirror, he sees his son’s face.”
She has launched a GoFundMe page to help Giovanni’s older brother with expenses related to his funeral.
The victim’s friends described him as a selfless and charismatic boy.