The Kansas City community was sent into shock early Monday morning when 28-year-old Deangelo Wallace was shot and killed outside the city’s police headquarters.
Demanding answers, Wallace’s family held a press conference on Wednesday. They believe Wallace, who was a Black gay man, was the target of a hate crime.
“He didn’t deserve that,” Karen Wallace, his mother, said. “He was not a violent person. If he could do anything for anybody, he would. He didn’t judge you for whatever. You know, he just loved people. He was a people person.”
Wallace was at one point known across America for his voice, or perhaps lack thereof, when he appeared on the FOX singing competition X-Factor in 2012. He had several memorable exchanges with the judges, including Britney Spears and Demi Lovato, during his Kansas City audition.
“I could be a good pop star,” Wallace told them. “I know I’m better than Justin Bieber.”
However, the judges left the table during his off-key audition, which resulted in Wallace taking off with the microphone.
Now, his family is trying to give him and other victims a voice in their calls for justice. Wallace’s sister, Shauntice, shared an audio of him singing “Happy Birthday” to her, remembering the joyful moments.
“He was a very happy person,” she said. “He always had a smile on his face, regardless of anything that he ever went through.”
During the press conference, it was revealed that Wallace has experienced homeless and was in and out of shelters. Shauntice said her brother did face some challenges while riding the bus to and from work at 12th and Locust.
“I’ve been on phone calls several times where he’s been threatened here in Kansas City,” she said. “He’s been told that if they see him downtown, he’ll be killed.”
“He said he was targeted coming down here in the downtown area,” Karen added. “The homeless people were throwing rocks at my son.”
According to police, Wallace was murdered at 12:30 a.m. on July 5, but do not believe the incident was a hate crime. They say the deadly shooting simply stemmed from an argument.
LGBTQ Commission Vice Chair Justice Horn made a statement at Wednesday’s press conference saying,” Them making this gut reaction and saying this case is said and done — if the family here is saying it’s a hate crime, if the action leading up to it is a hate crime, there just needs to be a better set of eyes.”
Police took a suspect into custody but have since released the individual, turning the case over to prosecutors.
“I just want his killer to be charged,” Shauntice said. “I want justice for my brother, and I want to shed light on the LGBT community because they are targeted every day.”