PULSE ORLANDO UPDATE: Identifying the victims

PULSE: IN memory

In a press conference just completed in Orlando, Fla., authorities have upped the number of people shot to death in Pulse Orlando from “about 20” to 50 dead and 53 injured, making it “the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, eclipsing the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech university, which left 32 dead,” according to Reuters.

The shooter has been identified by family members as Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old husband and father of one from Fort Pierce, Fla.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and other officials said that they are focusing right now identifying the victims inside the bar and notifying relatives.

Those who are trying to locate friends or relatives inside the nightclub at the time of the attack are asked to call 407-246-4357.

Anyone with information about Mateen or other information that might be pertinent to the investigation is asked to call 1-800-CALL FBI, and choose option 2.

—  Tammye Nash

Authorities identify Pulse nightclub shooter

Omar Mateen

Photo of a man said to be Omar Mateen, the man who killed at least 20 people inside an Orlando gay bar early Sunday morning

The man who opened fire inside a crowded gay bar in Orlando shortly before 2 a.m. has been identified as Omar Mateen, 29, of Fort Pierce, Fla.

Authorities have said they don’t know the motivation behind the shooting, but they are referring to it as an act of terrorism, because of the number of casualties, and early on suggested the shooter might have been “radicalized” through possible ties to Islamic jihadists.

Washington Post is reporting that Mateen’s family is from Afghanistan, but the shooter himself appears to have been born in the U.S. Relatives said Mateen’s family is in shock and is very sorry for what happened.

—  Tammye Nash

As LGBT community mourns, Dan Patrick sends judgmental tweet

Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 8.42.28 AM

A screen shot from Dan Patrick’s Twitter page this morning, Sunday, June 12, shortly before 7 am. The tweet about FWISD, just below the quote from Galatians, was tweeted Friday, June 10


Dan Patrick

As the details of a mass shooting inside a Florida gay bar continued to unfold Sunday morning, and the LGBT community — indeed, the country — mourned the more than 60 people killed or wounded in what officials are calling an act of terrorism, Texas’ right-wing lieutenant governor continued to prove what as an ass he is by posting a judgmental tweet that seems obviously tied to news of the attack.

“‘Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.’ Galations 6:7.”

The tweet was sent shortly before 7 a.m.

Thanks, Dan Patrick. As the rest of the country responds with shock, grief and sympathy, you have once again embarrased Texas with your hatefulness.

—  Tammye Nash

‘Keep running’

From the Pulse Orlando Facebook page:

Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 8.13.59 AM


Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 8.14.33 AM

—  Tammye Nash

BREAKING NEWS: At least 20 dead in shooting at Florida gay club

Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 8.06.52 AM

Screen capture from video posted on CNN.com

In what Orlando police are calling “an act of terrorism,” a man walked into an Orlando gay club around 2 a.m. and started shooting. Authorities are saying at least 20 people are dead and at least 42 people were taken to area hospitals.

Police shot and killed the gunman. They said the man was not from Orlando, but have not publicly identified. He was carrying an assault-type rifle, a handgun and may have had an explosive device with him.

We will update this story throughout the day.

—  Tammye Nash

1 dead after shooting in Oak Lawn

Screen shot 2014-12-22 at 9.45.52 AM

Dallas police are looking for a black male in connection with a shooting in Oak Lawn late Sunday night, Dec. 21, that left one man dead.

Floyd Robinson, 32, was pronounced dead at Parkland Memorial Hospital.

According to police reports, officers responded about 11 p.m. Sunday to a shooting call in the 2900 block of Lucas, about a block off Cedar Springs Road, near the North Dallas Tollway. They found Robinson in a breezeway at an apartment complex there, suffering from a gunshot wound.

Homicide detectives later determined that Robinson had been involved in an altercation in the 2800 block of The Mall Street, just across Hartford Street from the apartment where he was found. The investigation so far indicated that Robinson was shot during that altercation and then ran across Hartford Street to the location where he was found.

Detectives said the suspect remains unknown and that the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information concerning this shooting call the DPD Homicide Unit at 214-671-3661.


—  Tammye Nash

Austin shooter apparently hated immigrants, gays

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 5.34.51 PM

Larry Steve McQuilliams

Larry Steve McQuilliams, the 49-year-old man who opened fire on a number of buildings in downtown Austin — including the Mexican Consulate — early on Friday, Nov. 28, was part of an ultra-conservative Christian group that hated homosexuality and bi-racial families, according to Austin police.

McQuilliams was unable to find work and believed immigrants were offered more community services than he was, police indicated.

According to a report by International Business Times, McQuilliams’ shooting spree began around 2:20 a.m. He fired more than 100 rounds of ammunition at several buildings close to Sixth Street and the Austin Police Department headquarters, and tried to set fire to the Mexican Consulate.

No one except McQuilliams was hurt in the incident. A report on Austin TV station KXAN noted that McQuilliams was killed by a single shot from 312 feet away by mounted patrol Sgt. Adam Johnson who was also holding the reigns of two horses.

Austin Police Chief said that McQuilliams was heavily armed with two long guns — a .22-caliber rifle and an “AK-47-style weapon.” He said that McQuilliams used a rented van in the attack and after he was killed police found in the van a book titled Vigilantes of Christendom, numerous propane cans turned into explosive devices and a map with 34 targets including two downtown churches.

Acevedo said that during the attack, McQuilliams was wearing a tactical vest and a backpack hydration unit, indicating he intended to continue the assault. He had written “let me die” on his chest and later at his apartments, police found clothes laid out on his bed that he wanted to be buried in.

The KXAN report also notes that Austin police had arrested McQuilliams in 1992 in connection with an armed robbery of an armored car at First State Bank, and that he was later convicted on federal armed robbery charges. He was in federal prison on that conviction until June 2000.

McQuilliams lived in Wichita, Kansas until he moved to Austin in 2013. He told neighbors he left Wichita because his employer there did not appreciate him, according to reports by the Statesman.

The newspaper also reported that McQuilliams also told neighbors he was a Renaissance Fair enthusiast and martial artist who liked drum circles. He took care of neighbors’ pets when they were away and would help clean up the hike-and-bike trail at Barton Springs when heavy rains washed through it.

—  Tammye Nash

One dead in shooting at Oak Lawn and Lemmon

Screen shot 2014-05-30 at 9.45.02 AM

(Fox 4 News)

Dallas police officers responded to a call at 5:42 a.m. at the Shell station at the corner of Oak Lawn and Lemmon Avenue on Friday.

According to a police spokesman, the first responder at the scene found a car crashed into a tree at the station and noticed the driver had a gunshot wound. He was transported to Parkland Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

A police official said there are indications that the shot was fired from within the vehicle, making the driver lose control and crash. Witnesses said after the crash a black male exited the vehicle and left on foot in an unknown direction.

Police are waiting for a report from homicide.

—  David Taffet

DPD seeks suspects who shot man on Lemmon Ave., leaving him paralyzed

Dallas police are trying to identifying possible suspects who might have information about an aggravated assault on Aug. 16.

A 21-year-old man was shot in the back near his shoulder blade shortly after 2:30 a.m. in the 4200 block of Lemmon Street near Lolita’s Restaurant, according to a police report.

The vehicle description of the people believed to be responsible is a silver two-door Honda.

The man is now paralyzed, according to a police news release.

Anyone with information on the identity of these suspects should contact Dallas Crime Stoppers at 214-373-8477. Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for information that leads to the arrest and indictment for this offense. Calls can be made anonymously.

—  Dallasvoice

Good Christian belle

Gay ally Kristin Chenoweth talks about her new country music CD (she adores Dolly!), queers … and the right way to be a Christian

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO KRISTIN | The performer has conquered stage, recording, TV … and uniting gay rights with her faith.

Kristin Chenoweth doesn’t get miffed very easily. But when she does, watch out. Last year, after Newsweek published a commentary on the inability of gay actors to play straight roles, she wrote an extensive letter to the magazine, calling the article “horrendously homophobic.”

But Chenoweth’s allegiance to the gay community goes back to growing up in Oklahoma — a place she returned to for her latest album, Some Lessons Learned, the first of four where the opera-trainer singer fully embraces her country roots.

We had lots to talk about when we caught up with Chenoweth, on a dinner break from shooting her upcoming series, Good Christian Belles. She discussed her history of dating gay men, her opinion on Michele Bachmann’s support of gay conversion clinics … and being a little bit wicked.

— Chris Azzopardi


Dallas Voice: Your character’s name on Good Christian Belles is Cockburn — Carlene Cockburn. Chenoweth: I can’t wait for my family to hear that one. Are you kidding? I was like, “Wait a minute…!” But I just think the most important thing for me as an actress, because of the lines that come out of my mouth, is to just have to speak them and keep going, because they’re so funny and her name is so funny and the whole thing is just so great. I love it.

Does your character have anything in common with April Rhodes, who you play on Glee? Probably not on paper, but they’re both pretty outlandish people. Carlene, though, is the antithesis of April.

You grew up in Oklahoma, so country music is your roots. How is your new album a reflection of that? It’s so funny, because I get asked, “Why a country album now?” But that’s how it all began for me. Of course, why would anyone know that? It’s not something I’ve been talking about a lot, but it’s the music I grew up listening to. One of my biggest influences is Dolly Parton, and when you look at the history of songs in musical theater and in country, they’re both usually great storytellers.

I know just how lucky I am to do this kind of music. Getting to go to Nashville and sing this music that feels like home to me was a real gift, and one that I don’t take lightly.

The song “What Would Dolly Do?” reminds me a lot of Dolly herself. I co-wrote that. [Producer] Bob Ezrin asked, “Who’s had the biggest influence on you country music-wise?” I said, “Dolly, without question.” And he said, “How would she approach it? Let’s think: What would Dolly do?” I said, “Bob, why aren’t we writing that song?”

There’s something about her that I feel very attuned to. There’s only one Dolly. I’m not comparing myself, but I’m just saying her spirit and the way she looks at life is pretty similar to me. And the cover I did of hers [“Change”] is actually a very emotional thing and it reminded me — of course, how could I ever forget? — what an amazing songwriter she is. You know, I didn’t do a lot of covers. I did two covers, one of Carrie [Underwood] and one of Dolly’s, and I just love both of them. I love their music, I love their spirit — everything they stand for.

It makes total sense, because, to me, both you and Dolly epitomize happiness. Oh my god, thank you. That’s the biggest compliment you could give me.

So, being so happy… what pisses you off? Oh, gosh! I don’t really get mad that often. But I’m not going to lie: When I do, there’s a quiet that comes over me that is a little like whoa, and that happens when I don’t feel other people are prepared or doing their job or pulling their weight. I come from a family where my dad came from nothing and worked hard to get where he is, and he said, “Work hard, play hard, Kris,” and I guess that’s kind of been my motto in life. So when I see people squandering opportunities or having a sense of entitlement, that really makes me crazy. Because I don’t understand it. It’s not a world I get.

One thing that does make you upset is homophobic people. I don’t like that, you’re right.

Your letter in response to that Newsweek column said it all. Why was it important to address your feelings on that issue? To be honest, I wasn’t prepared for what was going to happen. I was on Broadway doing Promises, Promises, and I read the article and I actually thought it was pretty irresponsible. I’m not even talking about whether a person agrees with being gay or not, I’m talking about artistry and gay

actors trying to play straight. It just made me mad, because I thought, “Well, I’ve played a prostitute, does that mean I am one? No.” I just thought it was a little bit of a bullying thing, and I honestly prayed about it — no kidding, I prayed about it.

And by the way, I’m a big fan of the magazine, which is why I was so bummed. But I think that they felt bad and hopefully there’s been some discussion about it and some learning, because that’s what we’re here to do on this Earth, to learn our purpose. Well, one of my purposes in this life — since I’m a believer and a Christian — is to help people realize that not every Christian thinks that being gay is a sin.

To reinforce your point, you made out with your Promises, Promises co-star Sean Hayes at the Tonys last year. It might’ve been a little jibe. It might’ve been a little one! Ha!

What was it like to make out with a gay man? Was that your first time? Well, let’s face it, my high school boyfriend is gay, so I don’t think it’s my first time making out with gay men! I bet a lot of women don’t even know they’ve done it! And Sean Hayes is just a darn good kisser, what can I say?

Wait, so you dated a gay man in high school? Yeah, and I’m like, “Well, that’s why we were such a great couple!” He didn’t pleasure me in any way but he helped me pick out my prom dress!

Was he one of the first gay people you knew in Oklahoma? Yeah. I want to tell you something I know about myself: When I was in the second or third grade, I first heard the word “dyke,” and it was in reference to a girl in our school who was very, very tomboyish. I didn’t really understand what the word was, but I knew I didn’t like the way it was said. And for some reason I’ve always been drawn to the person that was alone, and I don’t mean to make me sound like I’m Mother Teresa, because I’m not. But I’ve always been drawn to people who felt left out or different, and maybe it’s because, I too, felt different and unique. People would not think this of me, because there’s this perception of me that, “Oh, life’s been perfect and things have come so easily.”

But let’s face it: My speaking voice is very interesting. Yes, I was a cheerleader but I also wanted to do all the plays, I was in renaissance choir, and, I too, felt a little bit like an outsider. I was always drawn to people who felt that way, too. And sure, some of them were gay and I never did understand — I guess the word is fear.

God made us all equal. He made me short, he made someone gay, he made someone tall — whatever it is, it’s not a sin; it’s how we’re made. And that’s the way I feel about it. It flies in the face of a lot of what Christians believe, but as I’m finding out there’s a lot of Christian people who think the same as me. So that’s my deal, and I think we should not be careful of the unknown but rather accepting and loving of it.

As someone who’s Christian and supports the gay community, how do you feel about the pray-away-the-gay program that Michele Bachmann supports? [Long pause] You know what, you can have your opinion. One of the great things about being in this country is we get to freely say what we believe. I just don’t happen to agree with that. Though I like the “pray” part!

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 16, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens