LGBT liaison says white male involved in muggings ‘may or may not’ be involved in April 30 murder
In the wake of an April 30 assault near Rainbow Lounge in which a North Richland Hills man was killed, Fort Worth police are asking that members of the LGBT community who have been accosted in the area by a white male come forward with any information that could help identify the suspect.
"We want to talk to anyone who has been robbed or ‘rolled’ or assaulted in some way — even just handled roughly by someone asking for money — by a white male in that area around the Rainbow Lounge," FWPD LGBT Liaison Officer Sara Straten said Thursday, May 6.
"We know there may be someone who was mugged or assaulted who didn’t report it to police at the time for whatever reason. But we are trying to get a bad person off the street, and we need the [LGBT] community’s help," she said.
Rainbow Lounge is located at 651 S. Jennings St., around the corner from where the man was beaten to death last Friday, in the 500 block of Cannon Street.
According to reports from the Tarrant County Medical Examiners Office, Grady Fairbairn, 72, of North Richland Hills died at 10:33 p.m. Friday, April 30. Cause of death is listed as blunt force trauma to the head, inflicted by another person.
Police reports indicate that a passerby saw Fairbairn outside his vehicle after he had been attacked, and offered to call police. Fairbairn refused, however, saying he would drive himself to the hospital.
But police later found Fairbairn dead in his car, which was parked alongside the curb on Cannon Street.
Initial reports described the suspect in Fairbairn’s murder as a black male. But Straten on Thursday stressed that police are looking for information on a white male suspect. She also said these other robberies "may or may not" be related to Fairbairn’s death.
David Mack Henderson with Fairness Fort Worth issued a statement on Saturday, May 1, saying that his organization had heard reports of several muggings in that area over the last few months in which the victims had chosen not to report the attacks.
Henderson encouraged those people and any others who had been mugged to contact police as soon as possible. Straten on Thursday reiterated that plea.
Straten also sent a message to Fairness Fort Worth asking for that organization’s help in finding victims and potential witnesses.
"We need to talk to anyone who may have information on these crimes," Straten told Fairness Fort Worth. "Community members can talk to me first if they prefer, but I have a good friend who is working Homicide and has asked us for our help.
"We need to work together on this, and while I cannot discuss much at this point, I will the second that I have information that I can talk about.
"We just have to maintain some privacy in order to successfully prosecute when we get this investigated to its conclusion," Straten said.
Straten asked that anyone with information contact her by phone at 817-475-3630. "I will return every call or text I get," she said.
Fairness Fort Worth posted Straten’s message on its Facebook page and also offered to act as a go-between for people who might have information but are hesitant to go to police directly.
"Send a note to FairnessFtWorth@aol.com, and we’ll reach back quickly," the notice said.
Online Editor John Wright contributed to this report.
This article appeared in the in the Dallas Voice print edition May 7, 2010.