Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Teen Lesbian Shootings Spark Urgent Calls From Advocacy Groups to Solve the Crime

L to R: Mary Chapa, 18, and Mollie Olgin, 19, gunned down in what many believe was an anti-lesbian hate crime in Coastal Texas.

Austin, Texas and Washington, D.C. – The savage shooting of two Coastal Texas lesbian teens has drawn national attention from major human rights advocacy groups, adding pressure to local law enforcement and the U.S. Department of Justice to bring a killer to justice.  On Saturday morning, the motionless bodies of Mollie Olgin, 19, and Mary Chapa, 18, were found in the tall grass of a popular bayside park in Portland, Texas, where an attacker left them sometime after midnight on Friday (for details, see coverage in Unfinished Lives Blog). Olgin died as a result of a gunshot to her head.  Chapa was rushed to a local hospital for emergency surgery, and remains in serious but stable condition. No suspect or suspects have been identified in the investigation so far. Local authorities have been slow to suggest a motive for the brutal attack. Many believe an anti-lesbian motive lies behind the brutality of the assault, however.  The couple had been in a love relationship for over five months at the time of the killing and assault, according to their friends and co-workers.

The Washington, D.C. based Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBTQ rights and education group, and Equality Texas (EQ TX), based in Austin, are calling on local officials to find the killer and prosecute this case with all possible speed. In a joint statement issued today from Austin, spokespersons for these groups put their wishes in unmistakable terms.

Equality Texas issued the following statement after speaking with the Community Relations Service of the U.S. Department of Justice:

“Equality Texas joins with the Human Rights Campaign in urging a swift and thorough investigation of this crime. We applaud the Department of Justice Community Relations Service for quickly offering their assistance.  Community members are welcome to join a candlelight walk and vigil this Friday, June 29 at 6 p.m. at Violet Andrews Park, 305 Wildcat, Portland, TX 78374.”

The Human Rights Campaign has reached out to local law enforcement officials as well as the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI. HRC President Chad Griffin released the following statement:

“I want to express my sincerest condolences to the families and friends of the victims of this horrific crime. Two young lesbian women were shot and one lost her life. Regardless of the motivation behind this tragedy, we must send a strong message that violence against anyone is never acceptable. We have reached out to law enforcement officials at both the federal and local level, and hope to see a thorough investigation. These women, and all victims of violent crimes, deserve nothing less.”

June 26, 2012 Posted by | Anti-LGBT hate crime, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Equality Texas, gay teens, GLBTQ, gun violence, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Human Rights Campaign, Lesbian women, LGBTQ, Social Justice Advocacy, Texas, U.S. Justice Department, Vigils, Washington, D.C. | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Teen Lesbian Girlfriends Shot In “Targeted Attack”; One Dead, One Survives

Investigators near the scene of a double shooting of lesbian teen couple at a popular park. One girl is dead, the other is in serious but stable condition [Kiii News 3 image].

Portland, Texas – The bodies of two teen girlfriends were found shot in the head just below a scenic bayside overlook on Saturday. The city of 15,000 souls on picturesque Nueces Bay on the Texas Gulf Coast is reeling from the news of homicide and possible hate crimes, events that residents are having a hard time acknowledging to have happened in their quiet neighborhoods.Portland Police Chief Robert Wright announced that the victims have been identified as Mollie Judith Olgin, 19, and Mary Christine Chapa, 18.  Olgin died from her gunshot wound.  Chapa was rushed to a local hospital, and survives in what officials report as “serious but stable condition.” No motive has been determined for the shootings. KRIS-TV says that friends of the two girls maintain they had been in a quiet, closely guarded love relationship for around five months at the time of the attack.

Their friends from Ingleside High School and the neighborhood Taco Bell fast food restaurant where Olgin worked are distraught over the attack.  Samantha Garret, Olgin’s roommate, told KRIS-TV reporters, “You always hear, ‘They never did anything wrong. Why was it them? They were so innocent.’ In all actuality, Mollie and Christine were innocent. They never did anything wrong.” Olgin and Chapa had been discrete about their blooming relationship according to their close friends.  They wanted to avoid anti-gay negativity in their Coastal Texas town. While no one has yet suggested the attack was an anti-lesbian hate crime, it is on everyone’s mind as the community seeks to cope with the horror at the popular Violet Andrews Park where the couple was found by two sight seers around 9 a.m. on Saturday. Their motionless bodies lay just below the observation deck overlooking the bay, in an area of knee-high grass. Shell casings from a high caliber handgun were found at the scene, but the murder weapon has not been located. Local residents said they heard two loud cracks around midnight on Friday, but dismissed the noises as firecrackers. Kiii TV3 reports that authorities are pressing forward in an investigation of murder and aggravated assault in the case, with no mention yet of a hate crime motive.

Originally tight-lipped about the ongoing investigation, Portland Police Chief Wright admitted to KRIS-TV reporters that the case showed the hallmarks of a “targeted attack.” Investigators surmise that their assailant walked the couple down into the grassy area before shooting them.  The tall grass has frustrated attempts to recover any footprints. Added patrols are being added to area parks in the aftermath of the shootings. MSNBC reports that the friends of the couple are now concentrating on praying for Chapa’s recovery, and on collecting blood for her transfusions.  At the time EMS personnel arrived at the scene, officials say, Chapa could communicate, but no word on any account of the attack she might have given police has yet made the media.

June 26, 2012 Posted by | Anti-LGBT hate crime, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, gay teens, GLBTQ, gun violence, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Lesbian women, LGBTQ, Texas | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments


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