FONTANA (CBSLA) — A Fontana family is speaking out on behalf of a man who was beaten to death in a Phoenix for reportedly trying to get into a bathroom stall already occupied by a young woman.
Leon Armstrong, 26, was beaten to death earlier this month at a Phoenix gas station by a man whose daughter said he had tried to get into her bathroom stall. That man, Melvin Harris, has been charged with second-degree murder in the killing.
“He was murdered. Not by a gun, not by a knife, but by somebody’s hands. You know what I’m saying,” Armstrong’s brother Tramall said.
Armstrong’s aunt, Kathilena Johnson, says he was off medication for schizophrenia and may have just been disoriented.
“We knew automatically that he was not going in there to do anything to those young ladies,” she said.
That night has hit both families hard. Harris’ 16-year-old daughter, whose mother asked that her name be kept private, says she now regrets telling her father what happened inside the store.
Her dad was “protecting me,” the girl told CBS News correspondent Carter Evans. “Now someone’s dead. And now everyone’s coming at me like I did something to him.
According to court documents, the girl notified an employee of the intrusion and Harris told a security guard to “take care of it or he would do it himself.” Witnesses told police Harris then punched, kicked and stomped on Armstrong until he was unconscious before he left.
Harris’ fiancé, Diana Jackson, says he feared what would have happened to his daughter, had Armstrong gotten into that bathroom stall with her.
“You can not tell someone they are wrong for protecting their children,” Harris’ fiancé, Diana Jackson, says.
A GoFundMe page was set up to help with Armstrong’s funeral expenses.