The Obama administration on Thursday condemned the murder of Joseph Sanchez, an 18-year-old transgender teen from Belize.

“The Department of State condemns the brutal killing of transgender teenager Joseph Sanchez in Belize on January 12,” spokesperson Jen Psaki said in an emailed statement. “We send our condolences to Joseph's friends and family and the entire LGBT community in Belize.”

“No one should be subjected to violence because of who they are or who they love,” Psaki added.

Sanchez was reportedly stabbed to death just before 2 AM on Sunday. Video surveillance of the incident shows that Sanchez was approached by two men as he made his way to a party dressed in a skirt. The men frisked Sanchez; one stabbed him in the chest before they both fled.

Belize City police believe the motive was armed robbery.

“This investigation reveals that this person was walking on Elston Kerr Street when he was attacked by two persons,” Acting Commander Calbert Flowers told Channel 5. “The investigation reveals that these two male persons that attacked this person tried to rob him. During that robbery a struggle ensued and this person was stabbed once to the chest. The investigation is ongoing and we have what we think is enough evidence to show that it was an attempted robbery.”

Sanchez's family said that the teen had been harassed for years and that he received death threats from a former lover in the days leading up to his murder.

Caleb Orosco, executive director of UNIBAM, called Sanchez's murder a hate crime.

“The police is under no obligation to report that it was a hate crime,” Orosco said. “The issue for us here is that the act itself is hateful because it robbed the life of a young person who had dreams and aspirations and it robbed a mother of a child that she gave life to. More precisely, it robs the community of a sense of security. And it is within that context we define it as a hate crime.”

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