Gay studentís slaying in Calif. sparks outcry
OXNARD, Calif. (AP) ó Larry King was a gay eighth-grader who used to come to school in makeup, high heels and earrings. And when the other boys made fun of him, he would boldly tease them right back by flirting with them.
That may have been what got him killed.
On Feb. 12, another student, Brandon McInerney, 14, shot him twice in the head at the back of the computer lab at their junior high school, police say.
The slaying of the 15-year-old boy has alarmed gay rights activists and led to demands that middle schools do more to educate youngsters about discrimination on the basis of ****** orientation.
Police would not discuss McInerneyís motive. But the day before the shooting, King told McInerney he liked him, eighth-grader Eduardo Segure told the Ventura County Star.
If King had flirted with the other boy, ďthat can be very threatening to someoneís ego and their sense of identity,Ē said Jaana Juvonen, a psychology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.
McInerney was jailed on $770,000 bail on an adult murder charge that could put him behind bars for life. Prosecutors also filed a hate-crime enhancement, which could bring three more years if McInerney is found to have acted on the basis of the victimís race, religion, nationality or ****** orientation.
The shooting has galvanized Oxnard, a city of nearly 200,000 people about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Several vigils for King have been held, including a march that drew about 1,000 people to this strawberry-growing section of Ventura County.
Like the killings of some other gay students ó such as Matthew Shepard in Wyoming, and Brandon Teena, the Nebraska trans****** whose story was the subject of the movie ďBoys Donít CryĒ ó Kingís death has drawn national attention and outraged many gays.
Comic Ellen DeGeneres, who is a lesbian, said on her talk show Feb. 28: ďLarry was not a second-class citizen. Iím not a second-class citizen. It is OK if you are gay.Ē
Students at E.O. Green Junior High said the other kids used to taunt King, call him names and throw wet paper towels at him in the boysí restroom, and he would bravely fire back by flirting with them and chasing them.
ďHe didnít like people insulting him,Ē said his friend Miriam Lopez, 13. ďLarry was brave enough to bring high heels and makeup to school and he wasnít afraid of anything.Ē