Giovanni Melton

Giovanni Melton of Henderson, Nev., a gay 14-year-old, was shot to death last week by his father, in what some are calling an anti-gay hate crime.

Neighbors said that they heard a loud argument coming from the apartment where, friends and family said, Giovanni lived by himself. They they heard the shots.

People close to Giovanni said that the fact the teen was gay was at least part of the reason for the argument between him and his father, 53-year-old Wendell Melton, that ended with Wendell Melton shooting his son to death.

A woman named Sonja Jones, who identified herself to Las Vegas’ Channel 3 news as Giovanni’s “former foster mom,” said that the teenager had been “abused physically and mentally and spiritually for many, many years.”

“I’m sure that inside of his mind, he would rather have a dead son than a gay son,” Jones said of Wendell Melton. She also said that the father had pulled a gun on Giovanni and threatened to shoot him before after catching him with his boyfriend.