Dallas Voice reporter Anna Waugh gives an update on the horrific Portland, Texas shooting of lesbian couple. I went down to try to draw a bit of national attention to the crime:
June 23 will forever be remembered as the day teenage lesbian couple Mary Kristene Chapa and Mollie Olgin were attacked and shot.
Olgin, 19, had succumbed to a gunshot wound to the head. But Chapa, 18, was still breathing and was rushed to the hospital.
News of the shooting shook the LGBT community near and far.
Police initially downplayed the possibility that the murder was a hate crime, but after several weeks, leads went cold, leaving little information to go on.
Six months later, new Portland police Chief Gary Giles said the department hasn’t ruled out a hate crime. Giles said police have identified other possible motives, but he declined to discuss them.
Another LGBT advocate who attended the vigil was Wayne Besen, executive director of Vermont-based Truth Wins Out, who said he traveled to Texas out of a sense of helplessness.
“It was very emotional,” he said. “You just felt so bad for the families and the girls. It really stood out how much people really cared for them.”
Besen said the shooting sounded like a typical hate crime when the news reached him. He said police need to keep bias at the top of their list for motives and worries police will miss clues if they don’t focus on possible bias.
“That should certainly be the No. 1 motive and that’s what they should look into,” Besen said. “And to not do that is negligence and a total misunderstanding of the violence faced by LGBT people.”
Besen said his time in Portland showed a devastated community that lost two beautiful young women who were very much in love and had so much potential to offer the world. The community now mourns that June day constantly, at least until the man responsible is captured.
“With something like this that justice may not be served makes me very sad,” Besen said. “It’s depressing that it’s not solved yet. … I don’t even know them and I would like some kind of closure, and I imagine the people who are there who actually knew them that this has been incredibly painful for them, and I’d like to see them get that closure.”
Let’s hope they solve this crime soon.