CHICAGO — Two teens have been arrested in the murder of an openly gay high school student in what police are ruling a “robbery-turned-fatal-shooting,” while the victim’s family are calling it an anti-gay hate crime.
Terrance “Jawan” Wright, 18, a senior at Banner Academy South High School, was killed on October 19 just blocks from his school while walking home that afternoon.
According to police investigators, Wright was approached by five would-be robbers who attempted to rummage through his backpack and pockets; but when Wright fought back, he was shot in the chest.
Jarone Carter, 16, has been charged as an adult with first-degree murder, attempted armed robbery and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, said Andrew Conklin, a spokesman for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office.
A 14-year-old boy has also been charged with the murder but his name has not been released because he is being tried as a juvenile.
According to a police report, the 14-year-old boy was identified as the suspected gunman who shot Wright and caused his death.
While authorities are calling the attack a robbery-motivated homicide, Wright’s family claims his death wasn’t about money or valuables.
“I believe they only did that to him because he was gay,” said Javone Wright, 16, Jawan’s younger brother.
Wright’s uncle, Tywan Bouldin, said Jawan was bullied both inside and outside school, and that the robbery theory is wrong because Wright had nothing of value on him when he was killed.
“For them to say it was a robbery is foolishness because like I said what are they going to rob him of? School supplies or books? His shoes or his clothes. He don’t wear stuff like that. So what was the point?” he asked.
Bouldin said his nephew was shot because he was gay, and wants the crime investigated as a hate crime.
It’s not the first time Jawan’s sexual orientation was an issue, said Essie James, Jawan’s grandmother, told WGN-TV. Last year, Jawan transferred to Banner Academy, after being picked on at his last school. But, she said, the bullying continued.
“I was told the boys were picking on Jawan, Jawan was on his way home and the boys just started picking on him and calling him names so they tried to take Jawan’s book bag. So then Jawan and the boys got to fighting.”
“That’s when police say one of the boys pulled out a gun and killed Jawan.
Jawan would have had his 19th birthday on Oct. 28.
Filed under: Illinois