Suspect arrested in 2-year-old murder of Mollie Olgin

DavidStrickland

David Malcolm Strickland

A suspect has been arrested in the murder of Mollie Olgin and shooting of Kristene Chapa in Portland, Tex.

According to the local NBC affiliate, David Malcolm Strickland, 27, was arrested along with his wife, Laura Kimberly, 23, on Friday by U.S. Marshals and Texas Rangers in the San Antonio suburb of Helotes.

The attack took place two years ago and stunned the LGBT community throughout Texas. Dallas activist Cd Kirven collected funds for Portland’s crime stoppers program and organized a local vigil.

The murder took place in a park in the coastal Texas town. Olgin was found dead and Chapa has been recovering from her injuries. According to the NBC report, she is still receiving physical therapy.

Told about the capture of the suspect, Chapa told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, “It will never take back the pain and hurt he did to our families. And it won’t bring Mollie back.”

 

 

—  David Taffet

Portland lesbian talks about recovery since shooting that killed her girlfriend

Olgin.Chapa.sketch

A sketch of the suspect in the shooting. Portland police now have one main suspect who’s incarcerated in another state.

This weekend marked the one-year anniversary of a shooting in Portland, Texas, that lesbian teen Kristen Chapa miraculously survived but that killed her girlfriend, Mollie Olgin.

Chapa told NBC News that the last year has involved many challenges in her recovery as she moved from a wheelchair to eventually using a cane to walk. Doctors say the trauma from removing part of her brain from the shooting resulted in injuries from a left-handed stroke, including hearing and vision loss.

Police haven’t found the man who approached the couple on June 23, 2012, forced them into a secluded area of Violet Andrews Park and shot them, but have narrowed it down to a suspect who’s incarcerated in another state. They haven’t identified a motive, but haven’t ruled out a hate crime. No arrest has been made yet, but Chapa said she wants the man caught, as she still fears for her life.

“I want them to hurry up and find the person because … there are still times where I find myself scared, wondering if they’re going to come after me,” she told NBC News. “I’m always looking around, seeing if I recognize anyone. There’s still a part of me that’s scared.”

Chapa has mourned losing Olgin and regrets the two of them fought the night of the attack. Olgin wanted to meet Chapa’s parents, but Chapa hadn’t told them she was gay, a fact police later revealed when they informed them Chapa and her girlfriend had been shot.

“Every day I think about her,” Chapa said. “I pray for her, just for her to watch over me.”

Chapa plans to go to college in the future, starting with one class at a time because heavy focus and concentration gives her headaches. She’d also require help taking notes and a tutor, but she said won’t let the shooting hold her back from being as close to 100 percent as possible.

“I’ve come a long way and I know I won’t be 100 percent again, but I’ll be pretty close to it,” she said.

—  Dallasvoice

Crime Stoppers video offers new details in shooting of S. Texas lesbian couple

Tri-County Crime Stoppers recently released a video with more details about the June 22 shooting of lesbian couple Kristene Chapa and Mollie Olgin in Portland.

Chapa, 18, and Olgin, 19, were found shot in a park the following morning. The video mentions that the teens were walking late a night when they saw a man walk past.

A few minutes later he returned with a mask and gloves. He forced them to a secluded area before assaulting and shooting them.

Portland police have said that no evidence existed to lead police to believe the shooting was a hate crime. But after months of investigating, police received few leads.

People have donated to raise money for a reward for information, including North Texans. Currently $20,000 in reward money is being offered for information.

The suspect 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 Tri-County Crime Stoppers at 800-245-TIPS (8477) or submit a tip online. Reports may be made anonymously.

Watch the video below.

—  Dallasvoice

S. Texas lesbian reflects 3 months after shooting that killed her girlfriend

It’s been three months since Kristene Chapa, 18, and girlfriend Mollie Olgin, 19, were found shot in a park in Portland, Texas.

Olgin did not survive, but Chapa was found still breathing early the next morning and was rushed to the hospital. She eventually was able to communicate with police and helped them sketch a photo of the man responsible.

Chapa updated her Facebook status this weekend, reflecting on her recovery and life without Olgin.

“Today marks 3 months since my accident. I’ve learned life is so fragile and cherish the people you have in your life love them don’t take things for granted and buy pepper spray! they deserve it!” Chapa wrote, according to NBC News.

She also posted lyrics to the Kenny Chesney song “Who You’d Be Today,” a song about a person who died too young.

“I still need time but I am happy,” Chapa wrote. “I’m moving on.”

Moving on also includes dating again. Chapa noted in early September she was seeing someone else.

“I know people deal with things different and I’m not gonna sit in my room and cry over what happened,” she wrote. “I was heartbroken but I’m not gonna be single for the rest of my life … she’s in my heart but I needed something else. I wanted a girl to be there for me and understand what I’m going through.”

Chapa is still recovering in a rehabilitation facility while police await more leads that will provide more answers and justice for Chapa and her family. Dozens of leads were called in early on in the case but have since dwindled down to few.

“I love that people pray for me,” she wrote. “I really think that’s why I’m recovering so fast.”

Portland Police Chief Randy Wright has previously said that no evidence existed to lead police to believe the shooting was a hate crime.

The suspect 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.

North Texans have helped raise money for a reward for information.

Anyone with information should call the Portland Police Department at 361-777-4444. Reports may be made anonymously.

—  Dallasvoice

North Texans donate more than $2K to help catch teen lesbian couple’s shooter

Kris Wong of Youth First Texas, left, and Cd Kirven of GetEQUAL Texas, right, are shown with a representative from Tri-County Crime Stoppers, center

North Texans Kris Wong, C.d. Kirven and Mark Reed traveled to Aransas Pass near Portland to deliver two checks to Tri-County Crime Stoppers totaling $2,125 to help solve the shooting of a teenage lesbian couple.

On June 22, 19-year-old Mollie Olgin was murdered and 18-year-old Kristene Chapa was shot in a park in Portland, Texas. A sketch of the shooter has been released, but there are no suspects.

“The exciting thing about yesterday was the Portland City Council approved $15,000 and two police departments committed $5,000 each,” Reed said.

That $25,000 will go toward a Crime Stoppers reward for information leading to an arrest in the case. The money donated by the trio will be used to make a video reenactment of the shooting that will be filmed in two weeks to be published online and shown on local TV news outlets.

“Funds we delivered will be used to advertise the video,” Reed said. “They are very focused on getting this crime solved.

Kirven began the fundraising effort at a vigil held for the couple on Cedar Springs Road on June 30.

Wong, 17, a member of Youth First Texas Collin County, organized a bowling tournament in Plano to raise additional funds for the reward fund. That event exceeded her $1,000 goal.

—  David Taffet

How to get tickets for YFTCC fundraiser

Vigil that inspired the fundraiser

In Friday’s paper we printed a brief about a fundraiser Youth First Texas Collin County is running to raise money for Crime Stoppers in connection with the murder of Mollie Olgin and the shooting of Kristene Chapa. But we forgot to let you know how to get tickets.

Go here to get tickets on the Collin County Gay and Lesbian alliance website.

YFTCC youth Kris Wong, who will attend Rochester Institute of Technology in the fall, came home from the Dallas vigil held for Olgin and Chapa energized to do something. With YFTCC volunteer Lisa Mashigian, they put together the bowling fundraiser with the goal of raising $1000. With three weeks preparation time, they hope to get 60 people involved.

“The response from Collin County LGBTQA organizations and people has been wonderful,” Mashigian said.

CCGLA has set up a payment system and is sending the event out to its members. Equality Texas, BB&T, Business Network of Collin County, YFT Dallas and other individuals have made donations to the gift bags. Collin County employee resource groups have also been notified.

Mashigian said that this is not just a Collin County event and hopes to see a good turnout.

—  David Taffet

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

Fort Worth’s Brite Divinity School holds vigil for teen lesbian couple shot in S. Texas

Participants bow their heads during the vigil on June 29.

Oak Lawn wasn’t the only place in the DFW area where a vigil was held for the teenage lesbian couple who were shot in a park near Corpus Christi on June 23. Mollie Olgin, 18, was killed, and Kristene Chapa, 19, remains hospitalized.

Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth held a vigil on its campus Friday. The vigil was led by Brite’s Executive Vice President and Dean Joretta Marshall and professor Stephen Sprinkle. Both are openly gay.

Sprinkle said he believed it was the only vigil for Olgin and Chapa held on the campus of a divinity school. Brite President Newell Williams issued a pastoral response that was read at the vigil. The full text is after the jump.

—  David Taffet

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