Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.

Arts and Entertainment

HBO Documentary Explores Lawrence King Case, Gay Teen Gunned Down In Oxnard Middle School

Before you
Dear reader, we're asking you to help us keep local news available for all. Your financial support keeps our stories free to read, instead of hidden behind paywalls. We believe when reliable local reporting is widely available, the entire community benefits. Thank you for investing in your neighborhood.

In 2008, 15-year-old Lawrence King was shot to death by a fellow student at Oxnard's Green Junior High School. The student accused of the shooting, Brandon McInerney, allegedly shot King because King had declared that he had a crush on McInerney and asked him to be his valentine. King was openly gay.

The case went to trial and McInerney was ultimately sentenced to 21 years in prison. Now, a new HBO documentary is exploring the case, asking questions about the shooting, the state of LGBT rights, and whether McInerney should have been tried as an adult based on his actions.

The New York Times published a review of the film earlier this week, with Neil Genzlinger writing:

“Valentine Road,” directed by Marta Cunningham, is clear in its sympathy for Mr. King, but it is also bracingly willing to explore other sides of this disturbing case and complex subject. Was Mr. McInerney the one who was bullied, by Mr. King’s flaunting of his identity (including wearing makeup and heeled boots to school)? Can a 14-year-old be expected to process and live by adult standards? Can teachers be expected to advocate a level of tolerance that they themselves do not feel?
Support for LAist comes from

Many of these questions were explored as the case was being tried, with jurors themselves appearing at a later trial wearing bracelets that read "Save Brandon."

Here is a trailer for the film, which is now available on HBO Go: