One Louisiana family is mourning the death of a teen to what they say was a hate crime.
According to NBC News, the body of 17-year-old Ja’Quarius Taylor was found this month in a wooded area new his Washington Parish, Louisiana home after his mother reported him missing just a few hours prior. The teenager had been shot in the head.
The Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office placed a $5,000 reward for anyone who can help bring useful information about the homicide. Meanwhile, the family is grieving Taylor’s death and pleading with the FBI to get involved with what they believe was a hate crime.
“He was like a brother to me,” said one Washington Parish resident named Darrius Harry. “He was a cool person, somebody to joke with.”
“His whole family is wonderful, he’s amazing person, very smart and goofy,” said a classmate.
There's a reward of $5,000 for info leading to the arrest & indictment of who murderd Ja'Quarius.
— Jesse (They/Them & Trans) (@BraceJesse) January 22, 2020
In addition, Taylor’s family also says that bias from the sheriff’s department is hampering the investigation.
“The family has a legal team to help ensure a full, fair, and just investigation is happening. We hope the FBI will get involved because of the perceived conflicts of interest and family relations the local sheriff may have,” the family’s attorney told local news station WWL-TV, without elaborating on the nature of the conflicts. “We’re looking at this as a hate crime based on the race and sexual orientation of Ja’Quarius Taylor.”
Meanwhile, the FBI released a statement on Wednesday to say that they are aware of the situation and are currently aiding local police.
“We are aware of the incident in Washington Parish and are presently assessing the circumstances surrounding this event,” the FBI said in the statement. “If information comes to light of a potential federal civil rights violation, the FBI is prepared to investigate. The FBI takes seriously all acts or threats of violence and is committed to investigating crimes that are potentially hate-motivated and we continue to work with all our community partners.”
Sources: NBC News,