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22-year-old man killed while protected his gay cousin from homophobic gunman

By Mason White 7:47 AM August 11, 2017
By: Emily Lewis

(Scroll down for video) A young man lost his life after pushing his cousin out of the path of a homophobic gunman.

22-year-old Juan Cruz of Florida, went to a restaurant with his cousin Pedro and friends on Sunday, to celebrate the start of his new job as a panther.

When the group left the Las Flores restaurant in Lake Worth, one of the men in the group went over to another group and exchanged numbers with a gay man.

48-year-old Nelson Hernandez Mena, who was part of the second group, started hurling gay slurs at them.

Cruz, who always protected his gay cousin and encouraged him not to be ashamed of who he is, defended the gay people in the group.

This angered Hernandez Mena, who admitted to drinking 15 to 20 beers before the incident.

Pedro told police that Hernandez-Mena, who is originally from Honduras, said: “If you were in my country, I would have killed all of you.” he then pulled out a gun and fired a few shots.

Cruz pushed Pedro out of the line of fire and he was shot. He died in Pedro’s arms a few seconds later. Another man was shot in the ankle and was taken to a hospital.

Police did not disclose when Hernandez-Mena entered the United States, or if he lived in the country legally.

He has been charged with first-degree murder.