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
taffet@dallasvoice.com

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 wright@dallasvoice.com

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

Gay man found murdered in northeast Dallas

Aaron Cheung, left, in an ad for his restaurant

Aaron Cheung, 27, was found dead in his car by a passerby at 3:20 a.m. on Dec. 12, according to police reports. He died of an apparent gunshot wound to the head.

Cheung was an early organizer and member of Youth First Texas and the Resource Center group men’s group Fuse. He was born in West Islip, N.Y., on Long Island. He graduated from North Myrtle Beach High School in South Carolina and then moved to Dallas with his family nine years ago. From the Dallas Police Department:

At about 3:20 a.m. on December 12, 2010, a passerby found Aaron Cheung, a 27-year-old male, dead in his parked car near his apartment home in the 8100 block of Skillman in northeast Dallas. He appeared to have a gunshot wound to the head. The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office will determine the cause and manner of his death. Homicide detectives are actively working this case which is reported on service number 339510X. There are no identified witnesses in this case at this time and no other information available.

According to Chueng’s former roommate, he was shot outside his parents’ home in an apparent robbery. He had moved back in with his parents just a week earlier. Cheung owned the restaurant Bacon & Friends in Mesquite, which was still in its first year of operation.

From Chueng’s MySpace page:

I love to cook, dining out, sappy movies, romantic sillies… there’s more… I love cars! Just got my 5th car in the last 7 years (this one’s gotta stick for a while). I also enjoy midnight drives to nowhere, going to the mall and shopping for nothing, good friends and GREAT times. Started a weight loss thing…. be on it for about 3 months… lost about 35lbs so i guess that’s an intrest as well I’m also a memeber with FUSE, check it out! www.getyourfuseon.com

DPD homicide detectives are working the case. LGBT police liaison Laura Martin is also looking into the matter. We’ll provide more details as soon as they’re available.

—  David Taffet

Victim knocked out, shot fired into air during robbery near Cedar Springs strip early Saturday

A man was knocked unconscious and a gunshot was fired into the air early Saturday during a violent robbery just a few blocks from the Cedar Springs strip, according to Dallas police reports.

The two victims were walking home at about 1:30 a.m. in an alley between Throckmorton and Knight streets when two Latino males came up behind them, pulled out guns and demanded money, the reports say.

One of the men ran out of the alley onto Knight Street between Hall and Rawlins streets, yelling for someone to call police. One of the gunmen briefly chased the man and fired a shot into the air as he ducked behind a car.

Meanwhile, after the second victim handed over some cash, the other suspect hit him in the face with his pistol and demanded his wallet. The victim fell to the ground and the suspect got on top of him and took his wallet. Then both suspects pistol-whipped the man in the head until he blacked out.

The victim regained consciousness and was able to walk out of the alley toward his home on Knight Street. He was taken to Parkland hospital with cuts and bruises on his head and face.

The suspects were still at large.

—  John Wright

Police identify suspect who’s now charged in 3 recent ATM kidnappings in Oak Lawn, Uptown

Anthony Glenn Davis

Last Friday we told you police had made an arrest in the case of a woman who was kidnapped at gunpoint Sept. 27 on McKinney Avenue in Uptown Dallas and forced to drive to an ATM to withdraw cash.

We’ve also told you about another, similar robbery that occurred the day before in the parking lot of Office Depot on Oak Lawn Avenue.

Today, after completing lineups with other victims, police released the suspect’s name, and he is 40-year-old Anthony Glenn Davis.

In addition to the robberies on McKinney and Oak Lawn, Davis is charged with a third one Sept. 25 at 4026 Cedar Springs. And as you can see, he looks a little like “Deebo” from Friday.


—  John Wright

Trans man Lance Reyna’s attacker has been released from jail, and he’s ‘about to lose it’

Terrance Calhoun

Back in June we told you about a brutal hate-crime attack against a transgender man inside a restroom on the campus of Houston Community College. Lance Reyna, a student-activist who’s both transgender and gay, was washing his hands when his attacker emerged from a stall and put a knife to his throat saying, “Hey queer, I need you to be quiet, cooperate, and give me all your valuables.” Reyna was knocked to the floor and beaten and kicked. His wallet and credit cards were taken. Terrance Calhoun, 22, was later arrested on campus and charged with aggravated robbery in the attack that occurred during Houston’s gay Pride week. Three months later, Calhoun has bonded out of jail as he awaits sentencing.

“I just got informed that my attacker is out of JAIL, someone please calm me down because I’m about to lose it,” Reyna wrote on Facebook on Thursday.

“I feel hopeless right now, plus all the bullying not being taken serious is something I can relate from my younger days in school,” he added Thursday night.

“Just spoke with HPD investigator, threatening text message has been documented. When number was ran it came up with a history,” Reyna wrote Friday morning.

Cristan Williams of the Houston-based Transgender Foundation for America reports on her blog that police don’t plan to pursue hate crime charges against Calhoun:

“Since the attacker won’t fess up to knowing that Lance was part of the GLBT community, he won’t be held accountable under State or Federal hate crime statutes and the case will be prosecuted as a simple assault,” Williams wrote. “As it stands now, he’s out of jail and may get off with a slap on the wrist and some community service because this is his, ‘first time offence’ (according to the DA’s office)!”

UPDATE: We spoke with Reyna on Friday afternoon, and he said Calhoun pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony, earlier this month. Calhoun bonded out of jail this week while he awaits sentencing in early November, but Reyna said a prosecutor told him Calhoun could receive probation because it’s his first felony.

Reyna said the FBI investigated the case under the new federal hate crimes law that passed last year. However, because Calhoun wouldn’t admit that he targeted Reyna because he is transgender, the FBI opted not to pursue hate crimes charges. This was despite the fact that Calhoun used an anti-LGBT slur, “queer,” during the attack.

“I’m really disgusted with the way they don’t want to take things seriously,” Reyna said of authorities.

Reyna, who now attends the University of Houston, said Calhoun lives just a few blocks away from the campus, and he’s concerned for his safety. He said he hopes Calhoun is sentenced to at least 2 1/2 years behind bars, to give him a chance to finish school.

“That way, there would be less of a chance of me running into him,” Reyna said. “I had calmed down a little bit, but now I’m back to when it initially happened. I’m reliving the attack, and I don’t want to deal with the hell I went through right after it. It’s too much for me to deal with right now, just knowing he’s out on the streets.”

Reyna said it took him three weeks to recover from a concussion he sustained in the attack, and he’s currently undergoing counseling.

“They say have a lot of systems of post-traumatic stress disorder,” he said. “I have my good days and bad days, buy my level of anxiety just went up a couple of notches with him getting out of jail.”

Reyna said he also received a threatening text message a few days before Calhoun got out, but he is unsure who sent it. He has reported the message to police.

Williams, of the TFA, said she’s concerned about the standard that’s apparently being used by authorities to determine whether offenses are hate crimes. Texas’ hate crimes statute doesn’t include protections for transgender people, but the new federal law does.

“Apparently the attackers just have to come out and say, ‘Yes it’s a hate crime. I hate them, I was motivated by hate, now take me off to jail,’” Williams said. “Basically, unless they can have evidence that is beyond the pale, that is incontrovertible, they can’t prosecute it is as a hate crime.

“It would break if my heart, and it would make me lose a lot of respect for our legal system, if this guy gets off with a slap on the wrist and some community service after attacking a trans man with a deadly weapon and sending him to the hospital,” Williams said.

—  John Wright

Another robbery victim kidnapped at gunpoint in Uptown Dallas, forced to drive to ATM

The second incident began at 4151 McKinney Ave. early Monday morning.

Dallas police say the same suspect may be responsible for two recent aggravated robberies in the Uptown and Oak Lawn area that involved victims being kidnapped and forced to drive to ATMs to withdraw money.

The first incident, which we reported on Tuesday, occurred late Sunday and began in the Office Depot parking lot on Oak Lawn Avenue, at 2929 Oak Lawn Ave.

The second incident began at 6:45 a.m. Monday in an alleway at 4151 McKinney Ave., according to police reports. The victim reportedly is an employee at the Katy Trail Animal Hospital.

“Detectives are looking to see if they are related,” DPD Sr. Cpl. Kevin Janse said of the two incidents on Wednesday. “The suspect description is very similar. We suggest people call ahead to their place of business or home and have someone waiting on them when they arrive to make sure they get inside safely. This lady [the second victim] did the right thing and complied with the demands.”

The suspect is described as a black male about 40 years old, 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighing about 220 pounds. He has a scar under his right eye and was wearing a white T-shirt, blue jeans and a black hat at the time of the first incident. Anyone with information should call 214-671-4071 or 911.

If you’ll recall, there was a similar rash of aggravated robberies in Oak Lawn last year. The suspect in those cases was finally caught after David Ethridge, a gay victim, chased him down and obtained a license plate number from his vehicle.

—  John Wright