KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) — Family members say a man who was shot and killed near Kansas City, Missouri Police Department headquarters had been previously threatened and harassed for his sexual orientation.
Deangelo Wallace’s relatives want to be a voice for him because he can no longer speak for himself. They say prior to his death he was targeted in downtown Kansas City.
“I just want to keep my brother’s name alive and get that awareness out,” his sister Shauntice Wallace said.
Around 12:30 Monday morning near 12th and Locust, someone shot and killed Wallace.
“He was a good person,” Shauntice Wallace said. “I’m going to miss him. I just want his killer to be charged.”
Shauntice Wallace says she and her brother were very close. Now she can only hear is voice in videos he made singing to her. She played a video of him singing to her on her birthday.
“He was just a really beautiful person,” Shauntice Wallace said. “He had the most upbeat personality. Always had a smile on his face.”
His mother, Karen Wallace, says she was in disbelief when she was contacted about the shooting.
“He was just a lovable person,” Karen Wallace said. “He didn’t deserve that. He was not a violent person.”
Relatives say Wallace who used city buses for transportation in downtown Kansas City was previously targeted because of his sexual orientation.
“Homeless people were down here throwing rocks at him and telling him that he’s not allowed down here because he is gay,” Savory and Sons Funeral Home owner Frank Savory said.
Karen Wallace says he was also threated that if he continued to come downtown, he would be killed.
“The rate at which black LGBTQ people are being murdered is horrible,” Vice-chair of the Kansas City LGBTQ Commission Justice Horn said.
According to a spokesperson for the police department, there is no indication this was related to a hate crime. Investigators say the shooting stemmed from an argument.
“This is another group that has been targeted throughout the world, the gay community,” 24 Hour Faith Training Center pastor Timothy Hayes said. “They are human beings. They are children of God just like everyone else. So, I’m standing here today demanding justice.”
His family members say they believe he experienced harassment and threats and don’t want anyone else to go through that.
“I didn’t judge him for who he loved,” Karen Wallace said. “What gave anybody else the right to?”
Police did take a person of interest into custody, but the person was later released. Family members say they are speaking with prosecutors about possible charges being filed in the ongoing investigation.
Several studies by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs over the last decade have shown that the large majority of LGBTQ homicide victims have been people of color.