Man robbed on Cedar Springs on July 4

A 25-year-old man was robbed at gunpoint on the Cedar Springs strip early Wednesday morning, according to Dallas police.

The man was walking near his residence in the 3800 block of Cedar Springs around 3 a.m. when the suspect pulled up with a handgun and forced him into a vehicle, according to a police report.

After stealing the man’s wallet, which contained $300 in cash, the suspect dropped off the victim about 15 miles away at the RaceTrac gas station at Trinity Mills and Addison roads, the report states.

Police responded there after the man used his cell phone to call 911. He was not harmed, and police took him back home.

The suspect’s vehicle was a 2011 red or maroon Toyota four-door. A suspect description is not included in the report.



—  Dallasvoice

DPD seeks help identifying robbery suspects who held up woman leaving bar near Cedar Springs

Suspect 1

Dallas police are asking for help identifying four people who beat up and robbed a 24-year-old woman walking home from a nearby bar on June 17.

The woman was walking home after leaving a bar around 5:15 a.m. when two men “jumped her from behind striking her in the face and throwing her to the ground,” according to the incident report.

Police spokeswoman Sherri Jeffrey told Instant Tea she didn’t know which

Suspect 2

bar the woman was leaving but that it was located near Cedar Springs Road and Reagan Street. The woman was treated for an injury to her thumb after the men took off with her purse.

Police captured surveillance footage of four people in a gray Nissan Altima at a Jack in the Box on Illinois Avenue and later using her credit card at a nearby 7-11.

The four suspects are described as:

Suspect 1 – B/M/25 white tank top, “bump” haircut, goatee, tattoos on right shoulder.

Suspect 2 – L/M/20s white shirt, sunglasses on forehead.

Suspect 3 – B/M/25 wearing dark colored shirt with white diamond pattern and black do-rag.

Suspect 4 – Black Female wearing green striped shirt.

More photos and videos are below.

—  Dallasvoice

Suspects sought in 2 robberies in Uptown

Two recent robberies of individuals in Uptown may be related, according to Dallas police. These holdups are in addition to an attempted holdup at Uptown Station that we reported earlier in the week.

• On Tuesday, June 19, at approximately 9 p.m., a woman was walking alone in the 3200 block of Hall Street when she was confronted by a man who asked her for directions. During the exchange, two additional men walked up behind her and placed a knife to her back. The suspects made her remove the contents from inside her purse and took her wallet and two rings before fleeing.

—  David Taffet

Police arrest suspect in Oak Lawn robberies

Dominique Trevun Thornton

Dallas police arrested one man and are still looking for another believed to have robbed eight people in Oak Lawn early Sunday.

Phuc Nguyen, 20, was arrested Sunday after his vehicle was linked to the description of the vehicle involved in the robberies, Sr. Cpl. Sherri Jeffrey said.

The other suspect, described as a light-skinned Hispanic male in his 20s with a thin build, has not been arrested.

Police responded to the first robbery at about 1:45 a.m. in the 3300 block of Crestview Drive. Six people were held up by two men with handguns as they were walking inside the apartment complex from the parking lot, according to the police report.

The two suspects approached them and held them at gunpoint before fleeing with their wallets and cellphones.

An hour later, a woman called police to report that two suspects with similar descriptions had stolen her purse in the 5100 block of Vandelia Street. Around the same time, two more people were robbed in the 3100 block of Hudnall Street. Two suspects demanded they give them all their property, according to the report.

No one was injured in the robberies.

Dallas police also arrested a suspect in connection to the robberies along Katy Trail last weekend. Dominique Trevun Thornton, 22, was arrested Saturday after he was stopped for speeding in Grand Prairie.

Thornton is one of two men police believe robbed a man and a woman near the Katy Trail in the early hours of May 13 and a man running on the trail around 6 a.m. Police have since increased patrols along the trail.

The second man police are searching for is described as a black male in his 20s.  He is 5’8” – 6’2” tall and weighs 150-160 pounds. The men were reportedly seen in a gray four-door sedan, which police think could be a Chrysler or Chevy Impala.

—  Dallasvoice

Appeals court rejects ‘homophobic panic’ claim

Lawyers for Robert Van Hook, convicted of murdering gay man in 1985, told court psychological reports could have supported his claims of mental disease


Robert Van-Hook

LISA CORNWELL  |  Associated Press

CINCINNATI — A federal appeals court on Tuesday, Oct. 4 upheld an Ohio man’s death penalty for killing a man he met in a gay bar in 1985, rejecting claims that prosecutors violated his rights by not providing psychological reports showing he may have been motivated by “homophobic panic.”

A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed a lower court’s ruling upholding the death penalty for Robert Van Hook, 51. The panel also rejected claims of ineffective counsel.

Van Hook’s attorney, Keith Yeazel, said Tuesday that he will either appeal to the full 6th Circuit or the U.S. Supreme Court after he has a chance to review the ruling.

The Supreme Court in November 2009 reversed an earlier decision by the 6th Circuit panel that had found ineffective trial counsel, and the panel said Tuesday that it was bound by the high court’s decision.

Van Hook’s latest appeal argued that the psychological reports showing he may have been motivated by “homophobic panic,” or rejection of his homosexual urges, rather than robbery, could have been used to support his claim of mental disease. The reports also would have been used to counter the murder element of “specific intent to cause the death of another person” and the aggravated robbery factor contributing to the death penalty, the appeal stated.

Van Hook claimed temporary insanity, but never denied strangling and then stabbing David Self to death at his Cincinnati apartment.

Prosecutors said he lured Self to the apartment with the intention of robbing him. He then mutilated Self’s body with a kitchen knife, hiding the murder weapon in the corpse before fleeing to Florida, where he was arrested and confessed.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 7, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Two men arrested in 2010 shooting

Tull recognized attackers when TV news broadcast their photos following their arrests for a June murder in Oak Cliff

Doug Tull
Doug Tull

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer

As Doug Tull recovers from what he hopes will be the final surgery he will have to endure after being shot in a robbery on an Oak Lawn street on Aug. 30, 2010, he said he is happy to know that the men who attacked him have finally been apprehended.

Last month, LaMarcus Mathis, 19, Don Williams, 17, and Robert Robertson, 24, were arrested for the murder of South Dallas convenience store owner Jin Ha.

Tull said he recognized Mathis as the man who shot him when he saw the suspect’s photo on television.

“I was watching the news,” he said of how he learned the three had been arrested. “It sent chills down my spine.”

Tull said that Williams is the person who participated in beating him during the attack last year, but he is not sure if Robertson was the getaway driver.

He said there was no doubt in his mind that Mathis and Robertson are the same two men who attacked him a year ago, and that he has worried ever since that they would continue attacking until someone was killed.

“I knew they’d do it again,” Tull said.

Tull also said that he knew the night he was shot that the suspects had committed such crimes before.

“They acted too experienced,” he said. “They knew exactly what they were doing.”

On Aug. 30, Tull was walking from his apartment on Throckmorton Street to Pekers, a bar on Oak Lawn Avenue. Two men stopped him on Brown Street demanding money. They took his wallet and beat him.
When Tull sprayed his attackers with mace, Mathis shot him then made his escape by running to a car driven by a third man, who had pulled into a nearby bank drive-through lane

Tull was able to make it to Pekers about a block away. Someone in a nearby apartment who saw the incident happen had already called police. Ron Nelson and Frank Holland, owners of Pekers, were at the bar, and as soon as they realized Tull was bleeding, Nelson called 9-1-1.

Tull was rushed by ambulance to Parkland Hospital where he had emergency surgery. He remained in the hospital almost six weeks and has since had two subsequent operations.

The bullet splintered his tailbone and Tull developed osteomyelitis, a bacterial bone infection from which he spent eight months at home recovering.

During that time, Tull said he heard little from Dallas police, who had no leads in the shooting. Police used a warrant to get the surveillance tapes from the nearby bank, but the tape did not clearly identify the car and the license plate on the car was unreadable.

LaMarcus Mathis, left, and Don Williams
LaMarcus Mathis, left, and Don Williams

A check from Tull’s wallet was found in the parking garage at The Crescent and returned to him by mail with a note. Crescent property managers made surveillance tapes from their property available to police when they learned that the check had been stolen in an armed robbery. But those tapes offered no evidence.

Jin Ha was murdered July 3 in her convenience store, located at the intersection of Illinois and Overton avenues in South Dallas. Robertson, who was driving the car seen in surveillance video, was arrested in Dallas three days later and charged with capital murder.

Robertson then tipped off police that Williams and Mathis had fled to Connecticut.

The two fugitives were arrested July 22 in Bridgeport, Conn., and both were extradited to Texas.

Williams and Mathis are being held in the Dallas County jail, with bail set at $1 million each, and both have been charged with capital murder.

Robertson told police that the two teenagers had been looking for someone to drive them around. A different car was involved in Tull’s shooting.

After Mathis and Williams were captured, Tull saw their pictures on TV news.

“My heart was racing,” he said. “I was so excited.”

Tull tried to contact the detective who investigated his case but didn’t receive a return phone call because that officer was out for knee surgery. Tull then contacted Dallas Voice who put the Dallas Police Department’s LGBT Liaison Officer Laura Martin in touch with him.

Martin contacted the detectives working on the Jin Ha case.

On Tuesday, Aug. 2, detectives visited Tull at home to have him identify Mathis and Williams as his attackers through pictures. He will be asked to pick them out of a police line up at a later time.

Police will do ballistics tests to link the bullet to Mathis’ gun.

Whether or not the same gun was used, Tull has no doubt about the identity of his attackers.

Aggravated assault will probably be added to the murder charges already pending against the two suspects, and Tull said he looked forward to facing them and testifying against them in court.

Tull will remain home to recover from his final surgery for two months. After taking eight months off from his job at Texas Instruments, he returned to work for just eight weeks before his final operation on July 28.

“My misery is ending,” Tull said, “But theirs is just beginning.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 5, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Just when you thought it was safe: Violent robbery reported 1 block from Cedar Springs

Earlier we mentioned that violent crime is down 29 percent so far this year in the area surrounding the Cedar Springs strip. But here’s a good reminder that you shouldn’t let your guard down: Those numbers don’t include a particularly violent attempted robbery that occurred late Monday near Throckmorton and Hall streets.

According to a police report, the victims were walking east, away from Cedar Springs, in the 3300 block of Throckmorton Street at about 11:30 p.m. when they passed the two suspects. One of the victims greeted the suspects by saying, “How are you doing?” The suspects didn’t respond, and after walking past the victims, they immediately turned around and confronted them. One of the suspects displayed a black, semi-automatic pistol, pointed it at one of the victims and said, “Give me your money, bitches!”

The suspect then hit the victim twice with the gun in the left side of his face. The victim managed to knock the pistol out of the suspect’s hand, and it fell into the street, where they continued to struggle over it. The suspect punched the victim several times, knocking him to the ground, and the second suspect picked up the pistol. The suspects then started to flee before one of them stopped and yelled to the other, “Let’s check his pockets.”

The suspect approached the victim, who was still on the ground, and attempted to check his pockets. But one of the other victims, fearing the suspect would shoot his friend, came over and began yelling at the suspects, who finally fled north on Hall Street.

Sr. Cpl. Kevin Janse, a spokesman for the Dallas Police Department, said Wednesday morning there have been no arrests in the case, and no suspects have been identified. “Detective is still investigating it,” Janse said in an email.

—  John Wright

Trio robbed at gunpoint in Oak Lawn

A lack of adequate street lighting is being blamed for another robbery near the Cedar Springs strip.

Shane Cain said he and two female friends, all members of the LGBT community, were walking from their vehicle to their apartment complex in the 2900 block of Throckmorton Street at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday when they were robbed at gunpoint by two suspects.

Cain, who lives in the Gardens Apartments at 2910 Thorckmorton, said the first suspect pressed a gun against his face while the second pointed one at his friends and demanded their purses. The suspects then fled on foot.

“We need to get more lighting on Dickason and Throckmorton. It’s just too dark,” Cain told Instant Tea today. “I’ve lived there for four years and nothing’s been done in four years. What does it take, one of us getting killed? If something is well lit, that can act as a deterrent for somebody.”

One of Cain’s friend, Skyy Boopsma, said the suspect “pulled out a gun and said ‘Give me your purse bitch’ and pulled it off my arm.”

According to a police report, the purse and its contents are valued at more than $3,000.

“Everything I own was in my purse,” said Boopsma, who also lives at the Gardens.

Cain said his other friend resisted and attempted to throw her purse over the fence of the apartment complex. The suspect pulled her to the ground and dragged her across the concrete but didn’t get the purse. Cain said the suspects, two black males wearing white T-shirts, took off running toward Dickason Avenue.

Boopsma said she doesn’t believe the incident was an anti-gay hate crime.

Cain said when police responded, they used GPS to track Boopsma’s stolen cell phone to a residence in the vicinity of Knight Street and Lemmon Avenue. He said he believed authorities were trying to obtain a search warrant for the residence.

Sr. Cpl. Sherri Jeffrey, a spokeswoman for DPD, said there had been no arrests as of this afternoon.

Dallas Stonewall Young Democrats has been working to improve street lighting in the Oak Lawn area through it’s Light Up Oak Lawn campaign.

—  John Wright

Friends remember shooting victim as strong, generous

Police arrest homeless man for using Cheung’s debit card; no murder charges filed yet in gay man’s death

John Wright  |  Online Editor

Aaron Cheung
Aaron Cheung

Aaron Cheung was remembered this week as a strong, outspoken, caring person who was living his dream of owning a restaurant.

Cheung, 27, was found shot to death in the backseat of his car outside a condo in northeast Dallas in the early morning hours of Sunday, Dec. 12.

Dallas police say the motive for the crime was robbery, and they have no reason to believe Cheung’s sexual orientation was a factor.

On Wednesday, DPD arrested a homeless man who they say used Cheung’s debit card at a downtown 7-Eleven after the murder

Charles Edward Freeman, 58, is charged with fraudulent use or possession of identifying information, a felony, and was being held on $50,000 bail. As of Thursday morning, Dec. 16, Freeman was considered a “person of interest” but had not been charged in Cheung’s robbery and murder.

Cheung was a founding member of Fuse, the LGBT young men’s group at Resource Center Dallas, according to his close friend Alex Ortega. Cheung also once served on the youth board at Youth First Texas.

But for the last few years, Ortega said, Cheung devoted most of his time to Bacon and Friends, his restaurant in Mesquite.

“That was his dream,” said Ortega, who worked at the restaurant last summer. “His passion was food. He was always talking about watching Food Network and then trying different things. He was just really creative and a real people person. He had so many regulars, and they all asked for him. … He was very meticulous about the food, and people just really gravitated to that, all the effort he put into everything. It was always busy.”

Cheung had just gotten home from work at about 3:30 a.m. on Sunday morning and was retrieving a box from the backseat of his car outside a condo he shared with his parents in the 8100 block of Skillman Road when he was shot, according to police. The suspect ambushed Cheung from behind and shot him once in the head before making off with his wallet and several hundred dollars in cash.

On Tuesday, Dec. 14, police released surveillance video from a 7-Eleven on Commerce Street, showing a short, older black man with a limp using Cheung’s debit card to purchase cigarettes and chicken wings.

Freeman was arrested at the Bridge, a homeless shelter, after people there recognized him from the surveillance video.

Police say Freeman fits the description of a man who was seen by a witness fleeing the area of Cheung’s murder.

“It’s going to take some forensic evidence before they can list him as a suspect,” DPD spokesman Sr. Cpl. Kevin Janse said Thursday morning.

“They’re still looking at him as a person of interest.”

Ortega said he was glad that police appeared close to solving the crime.

“He was the strong one of the people I knew and hung out with,” Ortega said of Cheung. “You’d never think anything would hurt him, so it was just a complete shock. He’s from the East Coast, originally from New York. He was really tough and outspoken.

“He had a lot of street smarts, and you would never think this would happen to him, ever.”

A memorial service for Cheung was held Thursday afternoon in Rowlett.

Ortega said Cheung was an only child and he hoped the service would help his parents cope.

“I think it’s a really good thing for his family to be able to see how many people he affected,” Ortega said. “He really did do a lot for people who were in his life. If he cared about you, he would give you the world.

“He would do just about anything to help you out.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 17, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Dallas police seek info in gay man’s murder

Moments ago the Dallas Police Department sent out the below alert seeking information in the murder of Aaron Cheung, a 27-year-old gay man who was found fatally shot in northeast Dallas on Sunday morning.

According to the alert, an unknown suspect wearing a black hoodie and black pants was seen running from the scene of Cheung’s murder.

Sr. Cpl. Kevin Janse, a spokesman for DPD, confirmed Monday afternoon that investigators don’t believe the incident was a hate crime.

“Nothing leads the detectives to believe his sexual orientation played a role in this offense,” Janse said. “Robbery is believed to be the motive. No suspect or witnesses at this time.”

Anyone with information is asked to call homicide at 214-671-3661 or 214-671-3618.

—  John Wright