Houston PD says gay sex sting netted 7 arrests, won’t discuss officers’ attire

Memorial

Houston police say they regularly conduct gay sex stings in parts of Memorial Park, and the one conducted last Thursday was no exception.

HPD spokesman John Cannon said undercover officers engaged in conversation with men in the park and some of the men enticed the officers with conversation and by getting their attention from a vehicle or outside in the park.

The sting led to seven arrests, not more than 20 as gay activist Ray Hill alleged after talking to one of the arrested men. The men were arrested between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. for indecent exposure, a Class-B misdemeanor, after they “voluntarily exposed themselves,” Cannon said.

As for the account that officers were wearing Speedos, Pride-related T-shirts, including one with a chrome penis on it, Cannon declined to comment on the attire because police don’t discuss operational tactics.

—  Anna Waugh

Alleged serial killer linked to 5 strangulations in Houston, including two transgender women

Lucky Ward

Houston police have arrested a man they say is responsible for five murders last year, including two in which the victims were transgender women. Lucky Ward, 46, is a serial killer who targeted those he perceived as vulnerable, according to police.

Ward’s victims included Gypsy Rodriguez, 40, of Houston, a transgender woman who was found dead Sept. 13; and Myra D. Ical, 51, a trans woman who was found dead Jan. 18, 2010. Both women were murdered near Houston’s heavily LGBT Montrose area.

The Houston Chronicle has published a story that identifies Rodriguez and Ical by their male birth names, refers to them with male pronouns and calls them “men who dressed as women.” Meghan Stabler, a transgender activist from Houston, said on her Facebook page that she’s asked the newspaper to correct the story.

—  John Wright

Houston police arrest suspect in brutal stabbing outside Montrose nightclub

Aaron Scheerhoorn

Over the weekend we told you about the brutal stabbing of 28-year-old Aaron Scheerhoorn outside Club Blur in the heart of Houston’s Montrose area. Scheerhorn was fatally stabbed in the parking lot of the gay bar as patrons and security looked on. Police have said they don’t believe Scheerhoorn’s murder was a hate crime. Today, the Houston Press reports that authorities have made an arrest in the case:

Lydell Grant, 33, has been charged with murder. Police got his identity through a Crime Stoppers tip and he was arrested without incident during a traffic stop near the South Loop and South Main about 1 a.m. today, HOD says.

Lydell Grant

—  John Wright

Annise Parker has high approval rating despite bad economy and not being a media whore

David Taffet will have a full interview with Houston Mayor Annise Parker — who was in Dallas on Sunday for Pride — in this coming Friday’s Dallas Voice.

But for now, we point you to this story from KHOU Channel 11 about a recent poll showing that a solid majority of Houstonians approve of Parker’s job performance thus far.

Parker became the first openly gay person elected mayor of a major U.S. city last year.

In the poll conducted by Rice University, 14 percent rated Parker’s job performance excellent, 42 percent rated it good, 27 percent rated it fair, and only 6 percent rated it poor, with the remainder (11 percent) undecided.

The story notes that Parker’s approval rating is slightly lower than former Mayor Bill White’s was at the same point in his tenure. But it suggests that this is due to the bad economy and the fact that Parker doesn’t seek out media attention.

“What was interesting was how many people couldn’t rate her,” said professor Bob Stein, 11 News’ political analyst. “But in fairness, this is not the kind of mayor that looks for the press coverage and publicity that Mayor (Bill) White did.”

Parker tells KHOU that while she has no regrets about the job, the most difficult thing thus far has been visiting a fallen Houston police officer’s family in the hospital.

Again, for a full interview with Parker, see Friday’s Voice.

—  John Wright