An 18-year-old was shot dead in what police are calling a robbery, but the family says it was an anti-gay hate crime.
On Friday (19 October), Terrance "Jawan" Wright lost his life in Chicago after five men approached the American student and tried to rob him.
According to CBS News, Wright fought back and one of the men shot him in the chest. He later died.
Javone Wright, 16, the victim’s younger brother, said the pain is worse because the family believes the robbery and shooting was motivated by anti-gay hate.
He said: ‘I believe they only did that to him because he was gay.’
Chicago police say a group of ‘unknown individuals’ attempted to rob the high school senior by rifling through his pockets and backpack.
Wright’s uncle, Tywan Bouldin, says the robbery theory does not make sense because Wright had nothing of value on him when he was killed.
Bouldin said: ‘What they going to rob them of, his books?’
He added his nephew was bullied constantly inside and outside of school.
Speaking to WGN, Wright’s grandmother Essie James said: ‘I was told the boys were picking on Jawan. Jawan was on his way home and the boys started picking on him and calling his names so they tried to take Jawan’s book bag. So then, Jawan and the boys got to fighting.
‘What’s when police say one of the boys pulled out a gun and killed Jawan.’
James added when the bullet stopped her grandson’s heart; it tore out the heart of their family.
The family is now asking police to investigate Wright’s death as a hate crime, with the hopes it will give the killer a longer prison sentence.
No one has been arrested yet, and police are not commenting on the hate crime allegations.