Los Angeles father accused of killing son because he was gay
LOS ANGELES (CNN) — The father threatened repeatedly to kill his son because he was gay.
Then he allegedly did so this week.
Shehada Khalil Issa, 69, was charged with using a shotgun in the premeditated murder of his son, Amir Issa, 38, Los Angeles County prosecutors said.
The mother also was found dead inside the family home in the North Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, authorities said.
Her death is still under investigation; authorities didn’t immediately release her name.
The son was allegedly shot outside of the house, and authorities haven’t provided further details of the circumstances. Police responded to a 911 call Tuesday and discovered the bodies at their home.
Investigators told the Los Angeles Daily News that Issa had initially said he found his dead wife in the bathroom of their house and had shot his son in self-defense after being threatened with a knife.
Later, Issa made “incriminating statements” and was subsequently charged with murder. A detective told the paper: “It was a horrible family tragedy.”
Neighbors heard multiple gunshots Tuesday morning and said that they often heard arguing from inside the home, KNBC reported. Detectives were looking at whether a domestic dispute was also involved in the incident.
Advocates in the LGBT community described the incident as “gut wrenching” and a reminder that “the LGBT community face not only abandonment but also abuse for being open about our sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Jim Key, spokesman for the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
“When we won marriage equality, so many people thought this was the end of the battle and LGBT people were equal, but this (alleged) murder is a stark reminder of the violence that the LGBT people can face even within their own family,” Key said.
The LGBT Center supports 100 youths a day, and many of them are abandoned by parents or feel unsafe at home because of their orientation or identity, Key said.
‘Bulk of hate crime victims’
The Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations reported in 2014 that the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community was among groups that suffer “the bulk of all hate crime victims,” according to the commission’s annual report. The other groups were African-Americans, Latinos, and Jews, and together the four groups were targets in 86% of such crimes.
Hate crimes rose 1% in 2014, but the number of hate crimes, 389, was the second-lowest in 25 years and was dramatically lower than the peak year of 2001, when the post-September 11 attacks era led to a spike in hate crimes against the Muslim and Middle Eastern community, the commission said.
Issa is being held without bail and could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.
He will be arraigned on April 11.
CNN’s Cheri Mossburg contributed to this report.