Former X Factor star shot dead outside police station. His family say it’s because he was gay
A former X Factor contestant was shot and killed outside a police station in an attack his family believe was motivated by the fact he was gay.
28-year-old Deangelo Wallace was killed outside the Kansas City Police Headquarters on Monday (5 July) after he reportedly got into an argument that escalated into gunfire.
His death came nine years after a memorable yet unsuccessful appearance on the 2012 series of X Factor, which unfortunately ended in all four judges – Britney Spears, Demi Lovato, Randy Jackson and Louis Walsh – walking out in the middle of his performance to protest his off-key vocals.
“I could be a good pop star. I know I’m better than Justin Bieber,” Wallace told them, but the judges didn’t share his confidence and left him singing to a jeering crowd.
In defiance, Wallace left the studio with a $3,000 mic, was chased down Kansas City streets by producers and arrested. He continued singing as he was placed in handcuffs.
Sadly, in the years that followed the audition Wallace lived in and out of homeless shelters. His family say he was regularly harassed due to his sexuality.
“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 FOX4.
His sister, Shauntice Wallace, also claimed her brother had been warned he would be murdered if he continued to come downtown.
“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,” she said.
They see his tragic death as a culmination of these threats, and are insisting the murder should be investigated as a hate crime.
“Just coming out of Pride Month, who would ever think that something like this would happen on the front steps of our police department?” asked local pastor Timothy Hayes.
“Who would ever imagine that someone would be killed in front of the police station where everyone supposed to be protected?”
An unidentified suspect was taken into custody but was later released as the case was turned over to prosecutors.
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Investigators have not released any details about how the shooting unfolded or a potential motive, but say they’ve found no evidence of a hate crime.
The family say that’s not good enough. They want justice for Wallace, a “lovable” man who they will remember for so much more than his brief brush with fame.
“He was just a really beautiful person,” Shauntice said to KCTV 5 . “He had the most upbeat personality. Always had a smile on his face.
“I just want his killer to be charged,” she continued. “I want justice for my brother, and I want to shed light on the LGBT community because they are targeted every day.”
The family are now speaking to prosecutors about possible hate crime charges being filed in the ongoing investigation, KCTV 5 reported.
“[The police] 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 Justice Horn, LGBTQ Commission vice chair.