May 13th, 2010
08:21 PM ET

Bullied…to death

Program Note: Watch Randi Kaye’s full report tonight on AC360° at 10p.m. ET.

Randi Kaye
CNN AC360° Correspondent

As if junior high isn’t hard enough.. when a boy goes to school dressed as a girl you can only imagine the reaction.

That was the case for 15-year-old Larry King, an 8th-grader at E.O. Green Junior High School just north of Malibu California.

Larry was openly gay. He came out at just 10 years old, and friends say he was proud of who he was. He liked dressing up so he wore jewelry and makeup to school, and along with the school uniform, most days he wore his high heeled boots.

Larry lived in a group home called Casa Pacifica. His biological mother was a drug addict. His father had left them. Larry had been adopted but the family struggled with his behavior so he moved to the group home. He had been there just a few months when he started dressing like a girl, workers told CNN.

Larry ran into a lot of trouble at school because he was gay and because of how he dressed. Friends say he was teased constantly, and bullied in nearly every class. Some stood up for him but nothing changed. Until February 12, 2008. Larry was in English class when suddenly police say a boy seated behind him pulled out a gun he’d managed to bring inside school and shot Larry in the back of the head. He was rushed to hospital but pronounced brain dead the next day. He was kept on a ventilator for two days so his organs could be donated.

The boy accused of murdering him, Brandon McInerney, was picked up by police just blocks from school after someone called 911. He says he’s not guilty, but he’s been charged with first degree murder and a hate crime. He could get more than 50 years in prison. McInerney is being tried as an adult even though he turned 14 just weeks before the shooting. The trial is set for July.

If McInerney did shoot and kill Larry King...what might have driven him to do it?

Watch AC360° at 10p.m. ET.tonight to find out the answer.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime • Crime & Punishment • Randi Kaye
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. teresa, kent, oh

    IF Brandon did it, (and he did) here is why: at that age, to see a guy you know is a guy, coming to school dressed as a girl, is SEXUALLY THREATENING and CONFUSING. It appears that they are mocking the guys.

    Alot of straight teens cannot wrap their minds around guys dressing as girls, talking like girls, and at that young of an age this type of behavior is too much. Open "gayness" at this age is interpretted as sexually threatening to those around the gay person.

    If I knew any boy/girl that "came out" at 10, he/she would taken to a psychologist of some sort to deal with his/her feelings and emotions. NOT TO change him/'her, but to equipt him with the correct management skills to deal with the rest of the world. Larry didnt seem to have anyone looking out for him.

    Let's all be honest. If a boy came to school dressed in girls clothes and we knew it– how would we all react? I personally would stare and say nothing and avoid the person. We all know that type of dressing would be distracting, wouldnt it?

    On the bullying: I dont understand why TEACHERS dont simply say: HEY, we dont talk to anyone that way. Is that too much to ask?

    And for Brandon saying he is NOT guilty: he was picked up by the police a few blocks from school. If he wasnt guilty, why did he run?
    Sorry, Brandon, this boy was someone's child and God's, it wasn't yours to take him away.

    May 14, 2010 at 11:05 am |
  2. mitzi

    How tragic. What kind of world do we live in that this is acceptable. God is our judge, no one else. Sin is sin. To God, swearing, lying, stealing, homosexual behavior, adultry, fornication....are all the same as murder. No sin is worse than the other in God's eyes other than blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. This poor boy and his family. God help them.

    some day I pray to live in a world free of bigotry and racism, free of those who feel they are qualified to judge others. I pray that this poor boy was in the hands of God before the sting of death came for him. What a wicked, wicked world we live in.

    May 14, 2010 at 10:21 am |
  3. Tamiko

    What an idiot! He is only representing what he was taught at home. Put him under the jail!

    May 14, 2010 at 9:59 am |
  4. Sue from Chicago

    What was the 14 year old child being being taught that he turned into a killer? Who taught this child so much hatred that he thought it was ok to kill another child because this child was different from him. Who should shoulder some of the blame? Our society? Our society which looks down upon anything that is different – in this case being gay. Our church? Which sees being gay as an abnormility? The absconding father? Or a drug addict mother? When will people realise that it is not ok to bring a child into this world and not be responsible towards its physical and emotional health. They are all killers – our society, our church, the mother and the father – for not teaching inclusiveness – that it is absolutely fine to be different. And ofcouse the 14 year old boy should be kept in prison till he is 60 or 70 years old and his case should be publicised so that kids in every school through out the US knows that if you dare to kill another child, this is what you too will face. Children should be taugh that with such action comes dire consequence.

    May 14, 2010 at 9:16 am |
  5. MM

    LK is not gay.

    This is another case of "confusion over gender". I always take that as a birth defect.

    I think parents should be cautious if they have children with such confusion – the public are not so loving and tolerant. For self protection – it's the best to keep it quiet.

    I'm very sorry for what happened to LK.

    May 14, 2010 at 7:48 am |
  6. David Ann..

    As an ex-high school student I was tormented teased both verbally and physically on a daily basis. I would say at least 30 comments a day. Yes I was gay but I was not that open. However when I went to the administration they kept telling me that it was all in my head even when I had witnesses. After 3 year in high school of this the school "dismissed" me as a student. I had to graduate via an alternative high school. Fast forward to now and I have documented clinical Anxiety and PTSD from the experience.
    However all this started when I was very young. Even before I was out to myself.
    I agree with Dr. Phil that schools do not do their job, responsibility and duty to protect their students. I also believe that the 14 year old is Guilty of hate crime and murder but should be tried as a minor not an adult.

    May 14, 2010 at 2:55 am |
  7. Nadia

    This is a mirror of social problems.
    I will blame etic of the society; teachers, parents, but not children. It is our problem as parents that our children growing cold, which is lonely and killing their time without parents, but with the games. I am seen here a game in reality.

    May 14, 2010 at 2:19 am |
  8. Peter Edwards

    Religious leaders have blamed homosexuals for the catastrophes in society. Because of this many adults blame them for events from 9/11 to Katrina. I am not surprised to find that the children of these adults hold the same views and act on them.

    May 14, 2010 at 1:58 am |
  9. Jason

    I think the two important questions are 1. where does a 10 yr old get access to a hand gun and how is responsible for that? 2. how does a prepubescent child understand what being gay truly means, and how can a child who hasn't even developed sexually have an opinion of his sexuality and learn this behavior?

    May 14, 2010 at 1:50 am |
  10. Toni L.

    My heart broke as I read this. That poor boy. What kind of world do we live in when 14 year olds hate someone so much that they kill them in the middle of class... People are different, we need to teach our children to accept all people for who they are despite their differences. There would be a lot less hatred in the world...

    May 14, 2010 at 1:50 am |
  11. sauer kraut

    More evidence that anti-bullying laws will never take the place of old-fashioned parenting... the "pay attention to what they are doing" type of parenting.

    May 14, 2010 at 12:10 am |
  12. andy

    people in our society need to check their thought process, what gives them the right to judge other peoples sexuality...leave them alone, they are harmless and just want to be happy with who they are and only want to be happy, walk a mile in their shoes and maybe you'll understand!

    May 14, 2010 at 12:10 am |
  13. Janis Affholder

    I hope you will air this as I know that kids can be taught tolerance and respect....but many adults don't get involved until it's too late.....remember" Columbine" the kids were't gay but they were not being respected for their differences...it's gone beyond cliches.

    May 14, 2010 at 12:07 am |
  14. Heike Winnig

    Obviously, there were witnesses in English class, it seems superfluous to use the word "if" McInerney shot young Larry King.

    It's my opinion McInerney talked about Larry King at home, and though I'd have thought that Californians were more 'hip' and 'open-minded', he must've been encouraged to be hateful and act on his growing hatred by the responses he may have received from his family.

    I believe "hate" toward ethnicity, religion, and sexual preference starts at home. Children naturally put their complete faith and trust in their parents and/or older siblings. How and why would they know any better, and why shouldn't they believe what is said at home?

    A child will believe his or her family before anyone else. Whatever is said in the home is gospel to a child, and it molds him or her in reacting in specific ways. Family influence is the greatest power, and as the saying goes, "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree."

    Truthfully, I think McInerney's family or members of his family are probably just as guilty of pulling that trigger as their boy is. They fed their hateful beliefs and ideals to his vulnerable young mind, and it doesn't take much imagination to wonder why he acted on it.

    For the sake of ignorance, anything or anyone different is to be feared and does not deserve empathy, much less respect.

    May 13, 2010 at 11:53 pm |
  15. Kim

    It doesn't matter what the reason is for bullying, teachers don't pay attention. I've had several meetings with my son's teacher and she rolls her eyes when I bring up the word bully. The principal is just as compassionate. Where do parents go when the bullying is getting out of hand??

    May 13, 2010 at 11:50 pm |
  16. George Fossett

    I think its horrible that we even comment about the possible defense that he may have asked him out or may gay comments to the shooter, come on, the reality is he brought a gun to school and shoy this poor kid in cold blood, nothing, nothing at all can provoke such an act with the exception of a threat on his life or the life of others. This was cold blooded murder, nothing less and to entertain anything as an excuse is a prime example of erosion of our laws.

    Thank you,
    George Fossett
    Detective Retired

    May 13, 2010 at 11:39 pm |
  17. Francis O'Connor

    After this particular segment aired, AC360 showed a video of 7 year old girls dressed provocatively and doing a dance routine that would be make Larry Flynt blush. Anderson Cooper and Dr. Phil correctly criticized the judgement of the partents of the girls and the other adults involved in the production of the dance routine.
    My point is, both Mr. Cooper and Dr. Phil were very accepting of a 10 year old boy attending school wearing make-up and high heels. If that indeed was the case, I feel that the adults: school administration and parents are likewise guilty of bad judgement which directly contributed to the murder of this child.
    The sexualization of children is wrong no matter what gender or orientation.

    May 13, 2010 at 11:24 pm |
  18. Kimberly C

    I live in Huntsville, Alabama and am disturbed by the middle school shooting which left one student dead at the hands of a fellow student. The alleged shooter was immediately expelled from school, swept off to the juvenille detention center and no action has been taken as of yet. The judge has postponed his decision as to whether to charge him as an adult or a juvenille. Where is the justice for the fourteen year-old victim?

    May 13, 2010 at 10:56 pm |
  19. Jim

    I am a 52 year old gay man. This story takes me right back to my school years, and all the painfull memories of my youth. Those feeling are still just as strong today as it was 40 years ago. For me, it never goes away.

    May 13, 2010 at 10:55 pm |
  20. Jon

    I applaud the District Attorney's office in this area for his action. As to what drove McInerney to kill this boy, who knows? Whatever happens, as long as justice is served, and this boy is put away for a sizable amount of time, I'm good. The message needs to go out loud and clear that hate is NOT at all OK.

    May 13, 2010 at 10:35 pm |
  21. diane

    my heart breaks for the children in that school... my son is 12 and in jr.high ...well it is called middle shool here in small town Doniphan, mo. i can not image this happening...it is horrible...scary. . if schools can have a no drug policy ,why then can't they have a no bully...zero tolerance policy? something is wrong...my son was bullied but didn;t want to be a tattle tale ...i made a trip to school...problem solved. what happened to Larry King? no one went to school for him or what? How did it come down to Larry being shot by a classmate? very sad.

    May 13, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
  22. Tahir

    Me being 17 years old I know the highs and lows of middle/high school. I feel that "self confidence" is the antibiotic your body needs to beat the virus. I feel for those who suffered these issues and America morns, but I think we need to look out for those who will God Forbid undergo these same events. Let's get our children to grow a back bone and stand up for themselves. Let's teach our children to accept all types of people, its not my parents inflicted it in me! TD signing out!

    May 13, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  23. Diane Berube Canada

    Kids can be sooo mean. My nickname in grade school was ugly, it took years before it even dawned on me that I might not be but the hurt at the time was immeasurable, I am just glad I hung in there and didn’t do anything foolish.
    Tolerance of unique individuals has always been a challenge in any social setting school or work. It is unfortunate and I am not sure it is in our current nature, to change.

    May 13, 2010 at 9:41 pm |
  24. janet

    Ignorance combine with lack of own self confidence / insecurities...how sad.

    May 13, 2010 at 9:29 pm |
  25. Jackie

    This is just terrible! Well, Americans are gun freaks and just can't seem to understand that guns are used to kill people. Where did this kid get the gun? If he got the gun from home, his parents should be charged with first degree murder as well, for giving him easy access to a weapon.

    America has become an intolerant nation, Arizona is a fine example of intolerance, as well as the Tea Party, Birthers,Baptist Anti Gay Protesters who protest at military funerals, and other such hate groups. The intolerance of the American people is what drove this child to kill another child.

    May 13, 2010 at 9:12 pm |
  26. Matt in Nova Scotia

    What might have driven him to do it? Internalized homophobia about his own gay tendencies. An environment in which he was taught that diversity is something to be hated and feared rather than embraced. A school in which teachers are afraid to correct homophobic language and actions for fear of students accusing them of being gay. It is sad to say that all of these things are very real, and dangerous, possibilities in today's world. But none of these things are reasons. They are excuses for cowardice and hate.

    May 13, 2010 at 9:09 pm |
  27. Sharline Nabulime

    The problem we have in our schools is that bullying is tolerated. We must implement a no tolerance policy in schools public and private in order to win this war. It's a war against our kids even though the kids are the ones in the fight.

    May 13, 2010 at 9:05 pm |
  28. Niki

    IMO, the causes are:
    1. Homophobia
    2. Bullying because of his sexuality
    This reminds me of before I was homeschooled. I was picked on a ton in the 4th grade because (at that time) my mom was a drug addicted prostitute. Kids are cruel.
    IMO, the kid deserves more then 50 years if he's guilty.

    -Niki, New York City

    May 13, 2010 at 8:59 pm |
  29. Jasmine

    What drove him to do it? Fear for what he didn't understand. In a society today, people fear what's different, and there already is a lot of hatred against gays. His parents could have even been involved. All it takes is one person to say that homosexuality is wrong in the eyes of God and that gays should be killed to influence a child of the age of 14. He, however, is fully responsible for his actions irregardless of the influences that may or may not have been involved.

    I feel sorry for the people who were close to his boy, losing someone just because their different is terrible, especially when he only just begun to enjoy life. He never thought that being open with himself and with those around him would have gotten him killed and it's things like this that really make me angry.

    May 13, 2010 at 8:53 pm |
  30. Alexandra

    How horrible... My sympathies to his family and friends. When I was in high school I was going to a private school and still I got bullied cause I was different, begin half-mexican in an all-white area wasn't easy, Kids just don't realize how their insults can affect their peers. Sometimes I'm still mad at those people but if I can tell some advise to some other teens who are currently going throught the same thing, BE STRONG, BE PROUD OF WHO YOU ARE and rely on your friends and family. My parents did know I was bullied, the principal even met the students who were bothering me but it didnt change anything. I had to react and ask them «You know what? What's your problem, Ok I'm different but please get over it and leave me alone», and it finally worked. Then again, all of my condolences and thoughts are going to his family and friends.

    May 13, 2010 at 8:47 pm |
  31. Jesse A. DarkCloudd

    Oh wow, that is totally horrible!! How did the boy even get the gun in the first place! Let alone know how to fire it...

    May 13, 2010 at 8:44 pm |