Florida teen shot to death by man who ‘feared being outed as gay’ in ‘possible hate crime’
A Florida teenager has been killed by a man who feared being “outed” as gay, police have said.
Telan Mann, 19, was shot to death in the early hours of 23 June in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Suspect Jakari Webb, 19, is being held at Volusia County Jail in Daytona Beach and faces three charges, including first-degree murder, resisting an officer and a probation violation.
According to Newsweek, police said the two had been speaking to each other on social media and had planned to meet for the first time on the night of Mann’s death.
Police stated that Mann was openly gay and Webb was worried he was going to be “outed” as gay himself.
Daytona Beach Police chief Jakari Young said at a news conference: “There was some concern that Telan either had or was going to post something on social media kind of outing the suspect.
“Officers found him [Mann] in a pool of blood and with multiple bullet wounds on his body. Mann passed away on scene.”
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Officers were asked on Friday (1 July) if the case will be investigated as a hate crime, to which Bryan Shorstein, executive director of the State Attorney’s Office for Florida’s 7th District, said his office will be “evaluating”.
He added: “Anything is possible at this point.”
Mann’s death comes within days of the tragic announcement that two trans women were murdered in the United States within the same week – one in Mississippi and one in Tennessee.
Shawmaynè Giselle Marie and Kitty Monroe were both murdered in June after it was reported that at least 19 transgender or gender non-conforming people have been killed this year.
Tori Cooper, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) director of community engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative, wrote about the violence facing the LGBTQ+ community in America: “The violence we face is one of the devastating results of ongoing stigma and discrimination. All of us must step up to end that stigma.
“We are people. We have friends and family, passions, hopes and dreams, just like anyone else. And we deserve to live our lives fully without discrimination or violence.”