A Nevada man has been arrested after fatally shooting his son during an argument over his sexuality.
Police were called Nov. 2 on a domestic disturbance report at the Nevada residence, KSNV reported. There, they found 14-year-old Giovanni Melton in critical condition, and rushed him to a nearby hospital where he died from his injuries.
Giovanni was shot by his father, Wendell Melton, 53. The two had been arguing about how Giovanni is gay and had a boyfriend, police said. Wendell called the police himself, telling them he shot his son after an argument that turned physical, the Las Vegas Journal-Review reported.
"Giovanni was abused physically and mentally and spiritually for many, many years," Sonja Jones, Giovanni's former foster mom, told KSNV.
"He hated the fact that his son was gay," Jones added. "I'm sure that inside of his mind, he would rather have a dead son than a gay son."
Authorities said Giovanni lived alone at the apartment where he was shot. Jones said Wendell had previously drawn a gun on his son when he caught him with his boyfriend.
"I'm hearing his dad had caught him with his boyfriend before and pulled out a gun on him," Jones told the news station.
Wendell was arrested on Nov. 3 on felony charges of open murder, child abuse and prohibited person possessing a firearm, according to a Facebook post by the Henderson Police Department. It is unknown at this time if he will be charged with a hate crime.
Coronado High School Senior Bailey Schultz, a former classmate of Giovanni's, remembers the teenager fondly.
"It’s just sad. He was young and he had a lot to live for," she told the news station. Other classmates remembered him as an energetic kid who could make anyone smile.
Jones was particularly devastated by the teen's death. She said it was a shame that a beautiful life was taken away because of ignorance.
"I hope they throw the book at him. I hope he never sees the light of day," Jones said of Wendell. "I hope every day when he looks in the mirror, he sees his son's face."
“He was my brother, my everything,” Alexander Melton told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, adding that Giovanni was a kind soul who wouldn't hurt a fly. “He was never afraid to try new things and he was such a smart, young man who everyone loved.”
Sources: KSNV, Henderson Police Department/Facebook, Las Vegas Journal-Review / Featured Image: Tomas Del Coro/Flickr / Embedded Images: Henderson Police Department and Facebook via Daily Mail