Arrest - Photo courtesy of Kindel Media on Pexels

A 29-year-old man accused of gunning down a homeless man outside a Sylmar convenience store in what authorities described as a hate-motivated killing was charged Wednesday with murder.

Eric Antonio Sanchez was charged with murder and attempted murder, with the charges including a hate-crime allegation, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Authorities said earlier the victim in the shooting, 48-year-old Ryan Bush, was wearing women’s clothing while talking to another person in the parking lot of the store near Polk Street and Foothill Boulevard around 1:20 a.m. July 5.

Sanchez allegedly approached the pair and “made disparaging and offensive comments” about Bush’s clothing and appearance, police said. He then fired multiple shots before fleeing the scene, officials said.

According to the District Attorney’s Office, Bush “was allegedly targeted based on a presumption of his gender identity and sexual orientation.”

Sanchez is expected to be arraigned sometime Wednesday afternoon in San Fernando.

“Hate crimes have spiked across the country in recent years and we remain steadfast in ensuring that we hold these violent individuals accountable while working to prevent such violence from happening in the future,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement. “Targeting someone because of their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation is unconscionable.”

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