Fourteen-year-old Giovanni Melton’s father Wendell Melton shot and killed him in Henderson, Nev. on Thursday, allegedly because he was gay.
“He hated the fact that his son was gay,” said Melton’s former foster mother Sonja Jones toldNews3LV. “I’m sure that inside of his mind, he would rather have a dead son than a gay son.”
Police detectives in Henderson said that Giovanni and his father had been arguing when Wendell, a former United Airlines pilot, pulled the trigger of one of the six guns he kept in the house.
The Melton family has been plagued with a dark history including a long custody battle between Wendell Melton and Giovanni’s mother who had abandoned him and a sibling, according to court documents obtained by Las Vegas Now.com.
Jones said of her former foster son that “Giovanni was abused physically and mentally and spiritually for many, many years.”
Giovanni was not living with his family at the time he was murdered, although police have not revealed where he’d been living.
A student at Coronado High School in Henderson, students and friends remembered Giovanni fondly.
One student who spoke with Las Vegas Now.com said they shared stories about him in school. “We talked about our favorite things about him. One word to describe him; how he made us feel. How we were feeling,” said the student. “I said that he was selfless.”