Note: AN UPDATE TO THIS POST IS HERE.
We’re still awaiting a press release from the Fort Worth Police Department about a man who was found beaten to death outside the Rainbow Lounge last night. In the meantime here’s a report from David Mack Henderson of Fairness Fort Worth:
Several Fairness Fort Worth board members came to the scene as soon as we heard and had a brief opportunity to speak with police. Understandably, in the midst of an active investigation, they could only share so much at that point, but here’s what we know. Approximately 9:30 an “elderly gentleman” was walking in the vicinity of W. Cannon St. a half-block south of the Rainbow Lounge. He was mugged and beaten but remained conscious. The officer I spoke with shared that someone (whom they’ve interviewed) came upon this gentleman and offered to help by calling 911 or otherwise. The victim replied no, that he would drive himself to the hospital. Apparently, he didn’t get that chance as he was discovered deceased shortly afterward.
The police asked Rainbow Lounge owner J.R. to make an announcement asking for anyone who may have seen or heard anything, and J.R. did just that. It’s uncertain yet if the vicitm was going to or coming from the bar or not. This is a stretch of road that is quite dark between S. Jennings and Hemphill where the old Stampede was. Many patrons park in a grass lot at this corner.
There appears to be one street lamp nearby that is inoperable. Our LGBT Police Liaison Sara Straten is working with the proper city department to see that it is fixed pronto. Most patrons would agree that more lighting is required and Fairness Fort Worth will continue pursuing this with the City and landowners as is appropriate.
In the meantime, please remember basic safety when walking in that area at night. Walk in groups, especially if you’re a tad compromised by a few drinks. If you feel the need, ask the club doorman to have an employee walk you to your car. They will. If you see or hear something suspicious, report it to the bar management immediately or call 911. We’ve heard reports of muggings in the last few months from patrons who for personal reasons chose not to report the incident. We encourage those victims to reach out to Fairness Fort Worth or bar management and we’ll work with you to report what happened in a safe environment for you. From this data the police can deploy additional resources to protect our community.
I should add that, contrary to the caption on the picture WFAA posted, the police did NOT surround the Rainbow Lounge with flashing lights. They had around six vehicles stationed at or near the parking lot corner mentioned above and only half of these kept lights flashing. A small area of W. Cannon St. was cordoned off with yellow tape, but that was it. Patrons came and went just fine. The police, from my perspective at least, were cordial and professional and there to do a job, period.
We can aid in that effort. If you or someone you know happened to see or hear anything last night that could possibly aid this investigation, please contact the FWPD Homicide Division. If you’re uncomfortable doing this on your own, we understand. Reach out to Fairness Fort Worth and we’ll offer assistance so that you can comfortably convey anything that might help solve this crime and create a safer environment for us all. Write me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org.