Gay, former ‘X-Factor’ contestant murdered outside police headquarters

Deangelo Wallace. Fox 4 screenshot.

The city of Kansas City, Missouri mourns the loss of 28-year-old Deangelo Wallace, a Black gay man murdered in the early morning of July 5. An unknown assailant shot and killed Wallace outside the city’s police headquarters in an argument that turned violent.

Local news station Fox 4 reports that Wallace’s family has said they believe his sexuality led his murderer to target him.

“I’ve been on phone calls several times where he’s been threatened here in Kansas City. He’s been told that if they see him downtown, he’ll be killed,” Shauntice Wallace, Deangelo’s sister, said in a statement.

“He said he was targeted coming down here in the downtown area. The homeless people were throwing rocks at my son,” his mother Karen Wallace told reporters.

Related: Three arrested following brutal hate crime-murder of a gay man in Spain

“Who would ever imagine that someone would be killed in front of the police station where everyone supposed to be protected,” Pastor Timothy Hayes added.

Wallace died around 12:30 AM on July 5. Officers did detain and question one suspect–whose name has not been released to the media–before releasing him and turning the case over to local prosecutors.

Despite the family’s insistence that Wallace’s sexuality had made him a target of violence, Kansas City police have said they’ve uncovered no evidence to support hate crime charges.

“Them making this gut reaction and saying this case is said and done — if the family here is saying it’s a hate crime, if the action leading up to it is a hate crime, there just needs to be a better set of eyes,” said local activist Justice Horn, LGBTQ Commission vice-chair.

“I just want his killer to be charged. I want justice for my brother, and I want to shed light on the LGBT community because they are targeted every day,” Shauntice Wallace added.

Deangelo Wallace had previously gained national fame by appearing on the reality show The X-Factor back in 2012. He shared his pop star aspirations with judges Demi Lovato and Britney Spears, before a tone-deaf audition stymied his chances. His murder is just one of a series of recent acts of violence against gay men on an international scale. In Spain, the murder of 24-year-old nursing assistant Samuel Luiz Muñiz on July 3 has sparked massive protests. Back in the US, an assault on Dr. Sina Rezaie on July 4 in New York City left the doctor hospitalized with major injuries to his jaw.