Amier Rocky Issa, 38
Amier Rocky Issa, a 38-year-old man of Middle Eastern descent, was shot and killed Tuesday, March 29, in the 15000 block of Rayen Street in North Hills, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records.
Shortly before 9 a.m., Issa got into an altercation with his father, who allegedly pulled out a gun and shot him, police said. Issa was found in the front yard of the family home and his mother, Rabihah Issa, 68, was found inside the home, fatally stabbed.
Prosecutors charged Shehada Issa, 69, with one count of murder in his son’s death. Police said he admitted to shooting his son with a shotgun, but explained that it was in self-defense. Issa told police that he had heard noises inside the home and, suspecting a burglar, grabbed a shotgun only to find himself confronted by his son, Amier, who he said threatened him with a knife.
The district attorney’s office alleged in a statement that the elder Issa killed his son because of his “sexual orientation,” a move that brought national publicity to the case.
One week later, however, police say they suspect Issa fatally shot his son after killing his wife sometime during the previous 24 hours.
Shehada Issa was charged April 28 in his wife's killing.
Det. John Doerbecker said Issa's story conflicted with the crime scene evidence, saying there was no knife found near his son's body.
Meanwhile, he said, investigators have amassed evidence of animosity between Issa and his wife before her slaying.
Issa's anger over his son's sexuality was a contributing factor, but not the underlying motivation for the killing, Doerbecker said.
"Generally, they didn't get along with each other," the detective said. "You might say they had problems through the years."
LAPD Det. Rich Wheeler said Issa viewed his son as a "freeloader" and wanted him to move out, but the son refused.
"He was clearly angry at his son," Wheeler said. "I think this is a case of anger and disappointment building over an extended period of time."
Deputy Dist. Atty. Emily Cole, who is handling Issa's prosecution, said her office decided there was sufficient evidence to support a hate crime allegation against Issa. She said authorities had information from Amier's siblings about previous threats their father made about Amier's sexuality.
"We have enough, obviously, to prove he killed the son, but the motive and the reasoning and everything is very much an ongoing investigation," she said.
Cole declined to provide details about the previous threats and said Issa didn't make any reference to his son's sexuality during his confession to police.
To prove the hate crime allegation, she said, prosecutors must show that Amier's sexuality was a motivating factor in the killing, not that it was the only factor.
The home was a source of turmoil since Amier moved back in with his parents, which neighbors said happened in the last two years.
The LAPD said officers had been called to the home to help evict Amier, whose parents were attempting to sell the house against their son's wishes. The son had even vandalized the house, according to police.
A rambling tirade posted on Amier's Facebook page 10 days before his death said he worried that his parents, brother and sister were "literally controlling me in my sleep" and that "they tell people to rape and molest me and make it seem like I enjoy that."