PRICHARD, Ala. (WALA) -- The family of Jaheim Pugh, a 19-year-old shot and killed at a Christmas party on Rosedale Avenue in Prichard over the weekend, believes he was the victim of a hate crime. 

“My son was killed because of what he was wearing not because of who he was or what he did,” his mother, Tiffany Pugh, said.

She said he was targeted because he was wearing women’s clothing. 

The family wants his murder classified as a hate crime, and family members say they will meet with Prichard police by the end of the week.

“I loved him with everything in me," Pugh said. "That's why he could shine like he did. Everything I had I poured into Jaheim.”

Pugh said her son identified as both a man and a woman. 

She said the night he was killed he was wearing a rainbow colored jumpsuit.

“They took somebody special because he wore a dress,” Pugh said. 

The victim's mother said a video posted on Facebook the morning her son was killed showed him laying on the ground as bystanders recorded.

“You sat there for 20 minutes and recorded him on the floor," she said. "No CPR, nothing! Statements they put on the live was, ‘If he wasn't wearing that dress he would still be alive.’” 

Her son’s death is now fueling a fight for justice for people just like him.

“He wanted to be him, he said, 'I just wanna be me momma. I just wanna be me,' is what he said and I support him.”

Two others were also injured during the shooting.

Prichard police are seeking James Lee James Jr. for questioning.

They say he is a person of interest in the case.

Anyone who knows where James is or has any information about the case is asked to contact police.


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