Houston Mayor Annise Parker helps dedicate ‘Tolerance’ sculptures inspired by hate crime


Openly gay Houston Mayor Annise Parker and her predecessor Bill White were among those who spoke last week during the dedication of a set of sculptures called “Tolerance,” at a park not far from the city’s heavily gay Montrose neighborhood. The sculptures were inspired by the death of David Ritcheson, a Mexican-American teen who committed suicide in 2007 after being beaten unconscious and sodomized with a pole in a hate crime. CultureMap reports:

The Houston Arts Alliance-commissioned sculptures of kneeling human figures, composed of multi-lingual melded metal letters resting on Spanish boulders, have been installed at the corner of Allen Parkway and Montrose Boulevard, and will soon serve as the locus of Harmony Walk and the Rosemont Bridge.

With the downtown skyline as a backdrop, the sculptures encourage Buffalo Bayou joggers and commuters on Allen Parkway to give pause and consider the city’s dynamic diversity.

Plensa, who said he “grew up in a forest of books,” sees the letter as a beautiful metaphor for human beings.

“When you compare ‘A’ with ‘B’ or ‘C’ with ‘D,’ or other characters, they seem different. But how beautiful when you can put them together and build up words. And words with words, text. And text with text, culture,” he said.

Mosbacher, widow of former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Robert Mosbacher, detailed her involvement with the project, which was sparked by a vicious 2006 hate crime attack against then 16-year-old Latino student, David Ritcheson, who later committed suicide.

—  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

Brutal stabbing shocks Houston’s Montrose area

Aaron Scheerhoorn

A 28-year-old man was brutally stabbed to death in a parking lot in the heart of Houston’s heavily gay Montrose area late Friday night. Police say the suspect, described as clean cut and tidy, chased down the victim in the 700 block of Pacific before stabbing him multiple times and calmly walking away. From the Houston Chronicle:

Authorities do not yet have a motive in the killing — or any evidence it was a hate crime — but several people witnessed the attack, in which the victim was stabbed in the chest, abdomen, forearm, left side and  hand, said Houston homicide Sgt. W. Meeler.

“It was brutal. We think there was some sort of confrontation, and the (victim) ran away and was chased by the suspect and killed,” said Meeler, adding the suspect and victim likely did not know one another.

The victim, who was not identified, was attacked in the parking lot of a night club in the 700 block of Pacific. Police, however, believe the two men were likely in the roadway when the altercation started, not inside the tavern.

KPRC Channel 2 reports that the stabbing occurred outside Blur Bar at 710 Pacific St. and was witnessed by security and patrons. The station reports that witnesses described the attacker as a black man wearing a colored turtleneck.

From the Associated Press:

Police said after the stabbing that they were talking to businesses near the scene to determine whether any had surveillance video that could help the investigation. Police spokesman John Cannon on Saturday told The Associated Press he had no information on how that effort has gone.

Although the victim was attacked in the parking lot, police believe he and his attacker were in the roadway when the altercation began and not inside the tavern. …

Cannon told the AP that a man ran to the door of the night club about 11:30 p.m. Friday, saying he had been stabbed. As he pleaded for help, Cannon said, a man wearing an orange turtleneck sweater and black pants approached the victim from behind and stabbed him several more times.

Meeler said investigators believe the man who did the stabbing took the knife with him because they did not find one at the scene.

Club patrons and security workers saw the attack, but Cannon said it’s not clear whether any of them tried to stop the stabbing or go after the assailant.

UPDATE: The victim has been identified as Aaron Scheerhoorn. Police say the incident was not a hate crime or a robbery, but may have been a crime of passion. The suspect, who remains at large, is described as a tall black man between the ages of 25 and 30.

—  John Wright