MECCA, Calif. -

Friends of a local college student shot and killed last month because of his sexuality, are raising money for his family. 

Juan Ceballos was gunned down on July 13th outside the family's apartment in Mecca.  The 20-year-old was the oldest of 5 kids, and the first to go to collage.

He worked at a gas station and Pizza Hut to help support his family while attending college of the desert.      

"He was the sweetest kid I probably ever had the pleasure of teaching," said Ceballos's former teacher Samantha Gomez.  "It was really hard because he was such a good kid and then especially the fact that he had so many financial responsibilities and he had taken such a big step in taking care of his family."

Gomez says Ceballos's funeral has already been taken care of, but wants to help the family with everyday expenses. She says the family should be able to grieve without having to worry about paying the bills. 

Miguel Ramirez has pleaded not guilty for Ceballos's murder.  He is also faces charges of a hate crime and a special circumstance allegation of lying-in-wait which could make this a death penalty case.

A fund has been set up for Ceballos's family at Wells Fargo. Call Joe Mota at (760) 347-3157 to donate.