Police release new sketch of suspect in teen lesbian couple’s shooting; victim makes ‘exceptional progress’

The new sketch of the suspect in the shooting of Mollie Olgin and Mary Kristene Chapa.

Eighteen-year-old Mary Kristene Chapa is making “exceptional progress” as she recovers from the gunshot wound she sustained in a June 22 attack at a Portland, Texas park that left her girlfriend dead.

Portland police Chief Randy Wright announced in a statement Saturday that Chapa’s sight and speech have improved to the point  that she requested to meet for a second time with a sketch artist to revise a previous drawing they made of the suspect.

Chapa and her girlfriend, 19-year-old Mollie Olgin, were both shot in the head by an unknown assailant June 22 at Violet Andrews Park in Portland, a suburb of Corpus Christi. Olgin died at the scene, and Wright said Saturday that Chapa “wants very badly to identify Mollie’s murderer.”

“It is unusual to go back and refine a suspect drawing,” Wright said in a press statement accompanying the revised drawing of the suspect (shown at right). “But in this case, our eyewitness sustained a brain injury that initially affected her ability to communicate effectively. The good news is she has made exceptional progress. Her sight and speech have improved and she can now interact with the artist much better. She asked to refine the drawing and the Texas Rangers artist agreed.”

Despite the new drawing, police said the description of the suspect hasn’t changed. He is described as a white male in his 20s, 5 feet, 8 inches tall with a thin build, weighing 140 pounds, with brown hair and a scruffy beard. Anyone with information should call the Portland Police Department at 361-777-4444. Reports may be made anonymously.

The shooting of Olgin and Chapa prompted vigils organized by the LGBT community across the country, including in Dallas. Despite widespread speculation among LGBT advocates, police say they have no reason to believe the shooting was a hate crime. However, they have not publicly identified another motive.

Read Saturday’s full press statement below.

UPDATE: NBC Latino reports that Chapa has left the hospital and is now in rehab.

—  John Wright

BREAKING: Portland police release sketch of suspect in shooting of teen lesbian couple

Police in Portland, Texas, have released a sketch (right) of the suspect in the shooting of a teenage lesbian couple at a local park on June 22.

The sketch was developed based on an eyewitness description. The suspect is described as a white male in his 20s, 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing 140 pounds, with a skinny build and brown hair.

Nineteen-year-old Mollie Olgin and her girlfriend, 18-year-old Kristene Chapa, were both shot in the head at Violet Andrews Park in Portland, near Corpus Christi. Olgin died at the scene, while Chapa remains hospitalized.

Some in the LGBT community have speculated that the attack was a hate crime, but police say there’s no evidence to suggest that the shooting was motivated by the couple’s sexual orientation. Vigils for Olgin and Chapa have been held across the country, including last weekend in Dallas.

Anyone with information about the shooting should call Portland police at 361-777-4444. Reports may be made anonymously.

—  John Wright

Nearly 100 attend Dallas vigil for teen lesbian couple shot in South Texas (photos, video)

More than 75 people gathered at the Legacy of Love Monument at Cedar Springs Road and Oak Lawn Avenue at sunset on Saturday, June 30 to remember the teenage lesbian couple shot last week in Portland, Texas. Many brought candles and flowers they left on the monument.

The rally was organized by Daniel Cates, North Texas regional coordinator for GetEQUAL.

Norma Gan, congregational care minister at Cathedral of Hope, began the rally with a prayer for Mollie Olgin, 18, who was killed, and Kristene Chapa, 19, who remains hospitalized.

The first speaker, Equality Texas Executive Director Dennis Coleman, said attacks on the LGBT community are increasing.

“I wish I could tell you these horrific attacks were a diversion from the norm, but I can’t,” he said.

He listed a number of recent incidents in Texas including a teen suicide that was the result of bullying.

“People are gathering at vigils like this one and saying ‘enough,’” Coleman said. “Demanding children — all children — be safe. This is a dark day for our community.”

—  David Taffet

Police release description of suspect who shot teen lesbian couple in Portland, Texas

Shot-lesbian-couple-screenshot

Mollie Judith Olgin and Mary Kristene Chapa

Police released a suspect description Thursday in the shooting of a teenage lesbian couple near Corpus Christi last weekend, according to the Caller-Times:

An eyewitness described the suspect as a white male in his 20s with dark hair standing 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing about 140 pounds. …

Several vehicles were seen at the park the evening of the shootings, and police ask anyone who visited the park Friday night to contact the Portland Police Department. Anyone with information on the identity of the suspect is asked to call police at 361-777-4444. Callers may remain anonymous.

Mollie Judith Olgin, 19, and Mary Kristene Chapa, 18, were both shot in the head at Violet Andrews Park in Portland, Texas, last Friday night. Visitors to the park discovered the pair the next morning. Olgin died at the scene, and Chapa was rushed to the hospital, where she is recovering. The couple had been together for five months.

—  John Wright