Former foster mom on Nevada shooting: 'He would rather have a dead son than a gay son'
HENDERSON (KSNV News3LV) - Friends and family are remembering a 14-year-old son who Henderson police say was shot and killed by his own father.
People close to the murder victim say part of the argument leading to the shooting was about the teen's sexual orientation.
Friends of Giovanni Melton remember an energetic teenager bringing smiles to everyone he met.
Coronado High School Senior Bailey Schultz says Melton went to her school.
"It's just sad. He was young and he had a lot to live for," said Schultz.
On Thursday afternoon, Henderson police say 53-year-old Wendell Melton shot his teenage son in the apartment where family members say Giovanni stayed by himself.
"Giovanni was abused physically and mentally and spiritually for many, many years," said Sonja Jones, Giovanni's former foster mom.
Over the phone, Jones spoke of the teen she loved as one of her own.
Jones says she was told by another family member that part of the argument that led to the deadly shooting was over Giovanni's sexual orientation. Jones says Wendell Melton had problems with it.
"He hated the fact that his son was gay," said Jones. "I'm sure that inside of his mind, he would rather have a dead son than a gay son."
Court records show Wendell Melton worked for United Airlines. He once was a pilot. Jones says Wendell threatened his son before.
"I'm hearing his dad had caught him with his boyfriend before and pulled out a gun on him," said Jones.
Giovanni was a student at Coronado High School. Jones says 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," said Jones. "I hope every day when he looks in the mirror, he sees his son's face."