Juan Javier Cruz, 22, was shot and killed when Nelson Sigfredo Hernandez Mena, 48, decided to harass Cruz’s friend for being gay.
Mena watched Cruz and four of his friends inside of a restaurant before he threatened them, reports the Sun-Sentinel.
“If we were in my country, I’d kill all of you like rats,” he told them. A witness said that Mena said he hated the men and promised to kill them before he began shooting.
Cruz died outside of the restaurant while another man was hit in the ankle.
Mena later told investigators that he was drunk and was attempting to protect himself.
“First-degree murder cannot be enhanced as it’s a capital crime, but any lesser charge could be enhanced if the investigation establishes hate motivation on targeting the victim,” informed Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office spokesman Michael Edmondson.
It is possible that Mena could be charged with a hate crime for his actions.
He faces charges of “murder, attempted murder and aggravated assault with a firearm” and is currently being held without bond.