As more details emerged in the case of Blaze Bernstein, the Pennsylvania university student who was found dead, his parents said Tuesday that the suspected homicide could be a hate crime. 

A statement by the 19-year-old’s family was released following a report by the Orange County Register which cited a search warrant stating 20-year-old Samuel Lincoln Woodward, the high school friend arrested on suspicion of killing Bernstein, told investigators he pushed Bernstein away when he kissed Woodward the night he went missing.

Woodward clenched his jaw and his fists, saying “he wanted to tell Blaze to get off of him,” investigators wrote in the affidavit. It also said Woodward wanted to call Bernstein a “faggot.”

The statement by Gideon Bernstein and Jeanne Pepper Bernstein said they were proud of their gay son: "Our son was a beautiful gentle soul who we loved more than anything. We were proud of everything he did and who he was. He had nothing to hide. We are in solidarity with our son and the LGBTQ community."

The couple added, "If it is determined that this was a hate crime, we will cry not only for our son, but for LGBTQ people everywhere that live in fear or who have been victims of hate crime."

The Orange County Register also reported that Bernstein was stabbed more than 20 times, and authorities were investigating whether the killing was an act of rage. Woodward, who is thought to be the last person to have seen Bernstein alive, was taken into custody on suspicion of homicide after DNA evidence linked him to the death. Bernstein’s killing could be punishable by life in prison without parole or the death penalty if it were to be prosecuted as a hate crime, the Register reported.

The two were friends since high school and Woodward picked up Bernstein on the night of Jan.2, the day he went missing and took him to Borrego Park in the city of Lake Forest to allegedly meet a third person. His body was found Jan. 9.

Bernstein, according to reports, texted his friends in June to tell them that Woodward was about to hit on him and "he made me promise not to tell anyone … but I have texted every one, uh oh."

Woodward, meanwhile, told investigators that Bernstein had kissed him on the lips and that he pushed Bernstein away on the night the latter went missing.

A private funeral service was held for Bernstein Monday. On the occasion, Bernstein family said in a statement: "As we lay Blaze to rest, we ask that communities around the world that were touched by Blaze's life, help us keep his memory and loving spirit alive. Blaze was on a path to repair our World and it is a moral imperative that we all take steps now to make sure that his dream is realized. We won't succumb to hate, bitterness, or disillusionment; we will use wisely the time we have left together."