Crime

He defended his gay friends from a hater. The threats turned into murder, cops say

Nelson Hernandez Mena
Nelson Hernandez Mena

A man who was murdered early Sunday morning was defending his gay friends from a man who said “I hate you (expletive) gays, I’m going to kill you all here,” witnesses told the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

Nelson Hernandez Mena, 48, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. He made a court appearance Monday morning. The incident happened after Mena followed a group from a Salvadoran restaurant in Lake Worth, a witness told police.

The victim, Juan Javier Cruz, 22, died in the shooting. Multiple witnesses confirmed that Mena followed Cruz and his friends out of Restaurante y Pupuseria Las Flores in downtown Lake Worth and threatened them for being gay.

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