Witnesses: Lake Worth Shooting Was Hate Crime

Juan Javier Cruz-shooting victim

Witnesses to a weekend shooting say it was a hate crime.  

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office is investigating the death of 22-year old Juan Javier Cruz, and has arrested 48-year old Nelson Mena.  Deputies say Mena shot and killed Cruz after during an argument that began inside the Las Flores Restaurant on Lake Avenue in Lake Worth eaerly Sunday morning, then spilled out into the street, right across from City Hall.  

A witness told deputies that Mena confronted a group of men, including the victim, because he felt they were gay, and heard the suspect say "I hate you damned gays.  I'm going to kill you all here."  

Cruz's family members say the man was just in the restaurant celebrating with family and friends.  One of his friends was injured in the shooting.

Mena faces a first degree murder charge and is being held without bond.

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