Crime watch

22-year-old was defending his gay friends when this man shot him dead

Early Sunday morning, a Florida man was murdered after he came to the defense of his gay friends. He’d been dining with his friends before a drunk homophobe followed them out of the restaurant and onto the street to harass them.

The suspect, Nelson Hernandez Mena (above), reportedly became angry after one of the victim’s gay friends asked for the phone number of a man Mena was eating with.

Multiple witnesses said that Mena aggressively came after the group, shouting, “If we were in my country I’d kill all of you like rats. I hate you damned gays. I’m going to kill you all here.”

The 22-year-old victim, Juan Javier Cruz, tried to defuse the situation but was shot and killed after Mena produced a handgun from his pocket.

Police report that Mena told them he’d drank roughly 15-20 beers that day, and that he was “very drunk.” He also said he didn’t intend to hurt anyone.

The Palm Beach Post adds:

Cruz and Mena were both with groups of friends eating and drinking inside Las Flores before the shooting, according to the PBSO report.

Mena was denied bond Monday morning by Judge Dina Keever-Agrama. The family of Cruz appeared in court with the hopes that the judge would “do the right thing,” and send Mena to jail, Cruz’s cousin Brenda Carballo said.

Mena now faces first degree murder and aggravated assault with a firearm charges.