Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Second Man ID’ed in Austin’s Lesbian-Related Double Murder

Norma Hurtado (l), and Maria Hurtado, daughter and mother, slain on Monday.

Austin, Texas – Austin police have identified a second man involved in Monday night’s double murder of a lesbian athlete and her mother in Southeast Austin. KXAN reports that authorities made the announcement on Wednesday, and are currently trying to decide the role this second suspect played in the brutal shooting of the two women by José Alfonso Aviles, disgruntled father of the lesbian’s teenaged girlfriend. Both Norma Hurtado and Maria Hurtado, 24 and 57 respectively, died in the attack.  Aviles was infuriated about the same-sex dating relationship his daughter had with Ms. Hurtado, and had threatened both Ms. Hurtado and her family with harm prior to the double homicide.  As police reconstructed the killing, Aviles and the second suspect drove to the Hurtado home on Monday evening, knocked on the door of the residence, and as Ms. Hurtado and her mother answered the door, Aviles allegedly opened fire. Both suspects then fled into the night. At the time of the attack, Ms. Aviles, daughter of her lover’s assailant, was in the back of the Hurtado residence and heard the shots fired. She discovered the bodies on the floor, and called 911. Both daughter and mother were pronounced dead at the scene. José Aviles fled to the San Antonio area where U.S. Marshals arrested him on Tuesday.  He has been charged with capital murder, and is being held in the Bexar County Jail without bond.  We Are Austin reports that friends gathered at the Hurtado home Tuesday evening to comfort each other and to remember the slain women.  Norma Hurtado was a renowned soccer player in the Millennium League, and was considered one of its best players.  On Thursday, April 21, a Community Candlelight Vigil in memory of the slain women is planned at the offices of OutYouth, 909 East 49 1/2 Street in Austin, beginning at 8 p.m.  The public is encouraged to attend. Speaking on behalf of the faith communities of Austin, Rev. Karen Thompson, senior pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of Austin, decried the attack prompted by a father’s anger at the lesbian relationship between Ms.Hurtado and Ms. Aviles. “It is always, always heartbreaking when ignorance and hatred lead to this kind of violence,” she said. “But today, on this Thursday of Holy Week, the heartbreak and sadness are multiplied by a terrible irony. As our GLBTQ brothers and sisters gather together to mourn two more senseless deaths, Christians all over the world will be gathering to observe Maundy Thursday. Maundy Thursday, the day on which our tradition holds that Jesus had a last supper with his disciples and gave them a new mandate, ‘A new commandment I give you, that you love one another.'”

April 21, 2011 Posted by | anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Austin Police Department, death threats, gay bashing, gay teens, Gender Variant Youth, gun violence, harassment, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Latino and Latina Americans, Latinos, Law and Order, Lesbian women, multiple homicide, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Remembrances, Texas, Vigils, women | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Second Man ID’ed in Austin’s Lesbian-Related Double Murder

Austin Becoming Unsafe for Gays: Bashing on 4th Street

Bobby Beltran, bashed for giving his friend a hug.

Austin, Texas – In an apparent gay bashing, a leading gay activist and his male friend were attacked on December 26 outside Austin’s popular nightclub, Rain. Bobby Beltran reported to the Dallas Voice that he and Christopher Ortega had just shared a parting hug outside the club at approximately 1:30 a.m., when a white sedan filled with five angry men stopped in the street shouting homophobic slurs at the couple. Beltran, who helped organize this year’s Queer Bomb in Austin, says that one of the men in the automobile shouted, “Fucking faggots! Cut out that queer shit!” According to On Top Magazine, Beltran yelled back, “That stuff’s not welcome here in Austin. We don’t accept that.” The quintet rushed out of the car, surrounded Beltran and Ortega, and assaulted them with punches, yells, and kicks. The gay men tried to fight off their attackers, and the violence lasted for three of four minutes until one of the assailants warned that police were coming. The attackers were described as two black men, two Latinos, and one white man. Beltran suffered cuts, bruises, and a wounded eye.  Ortega suffered a major blow to the jaw that may have broken it. According to the gay men, somewhere between 20 and 30 onlookers witnessed that attack, but none of them lifted a finger to help. In the melee, Beltran shouted out the number of the license plate belonging to the white sedan, but no one bothered to write it down, and he cannot remember it after the fact. The non-responsiveness of the crowd (some of them gay), and the lukewarm response of the Austin Police to the brazen assault, has the LGBTQ community in Austin worried about the safety of a city that was until recently considered gay-friendly. Ortega told local NBC reporters from KXAN, “The response [of the police] was like ‘Sorry guys. We’ll give you a report number. We’ll never catch these guys.’”  Beltran said to The Horn, a University of Texas Independent news outlet, “I’ve never in my life been in any kind of violent situation, especially a hate crime, so it’s been pretty traumatic.” Beltran continued. “Austin is supposed to be a gay haven, especially on 4th Street. What scares me even more is that nobody even helped. I’m so afraid to go back down there.” FBI statistics show Austin leads the state of Texas in reported anti-gay attacks for medium-sized cities. Beltran says the hate crime attack on Ortega and himself is the third such violent incident in the capital city this year. In February 2010, for example, two male team members from the Shady Ladies Softball Club were assaulted near the Austin City Hall. The attack on the gay athletes sparked a downtown March Against Hate last March. Beltran posted a photo of his injuries on the web (see above), and commented, “I’m just trying to get the word out there that this is going on in Austin, and it’s not safe right now. To find out that [gay bashing] is here in Austin on 4th Street, and knowing that fellow gay men were not doing anything about it, is just shocking.”

December 29, 2010 Posted by | African Americans, Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Austin Police Department, Beatings and battery, FBI, gay bashing, gay men, harassment, Hate Crime Statistics, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Latinos, Law and Order, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Protests and Demonstrations, Slurs and epithets, Stomping and Kicking Violence, Texas, Unsolved LGBT Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Austin Becoming Unsafe for Gays: Bashing on 4th Street


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