On Saturday Mollie Judith Olgin and Mary Christine Chapa, a couple, were found in a thicket of grass in a Texas park and shot in the head. Olgin has died, and the town of Portland, Texas is now faced with a deeply troubling homicide case. "If we had a name, you know, we’d be having a different conversation right now. But we have not been able to gather enough information to identify a suspect yet," Portland Police Chief Randy Wright told MSNBC. "It appears as if … this was not just a random attack but that’s something that we really have to develop over time."
Chapa and her girlfriend and Olgin had been together for about five months, reports KRIS-TV, an NBC News affiliate based in Corpus Christi. And though the words "hate crime" seems to be the term when trying to explain why someone would shoot an 18-year-old and her 19-year old girlfriend in the head (not to mention that the case closely resembles the 1988 murder/hate crime of Rebecca Wight), Wright still hasn't confirmed if the shooting was a hate crime. "That’s always something that we’re looking for, but as of this point, we have not been able to establish that that had anything to do with the attack," he said.
What officials like Wright are hoping for is that Chapa can pull through and give more details about the shooting. Even though police estimate that Chapa and Olgin were found about nine hours after their shooting on Friday night, Chapa survived the attack and is in stable condition after surgery. "She is able to communicate," Wright told the Corpus Christi Caller. "But we have not yet been able to talk with her." The Caller adds that investigators believe that Olgin and Chapa walked with their assailant down a trail into knee-deep grass, where they were shot with a large caliber handgun, but because of the marshy grass and the lack of identifiable footprints they still don't know what they're looking for--a man, a woman, or a group of people. And as of yesterday, KRIS-TV reports that no arrests have been made.
The whole story is just heartbreaking in that as a country, we're supposed to be celebrating gay pride month. Not that this violence has any place anywhere, but it's particularly poignant in that it comes when we're supposed to be celebrating tolerance. And sadly, Olgin will never get to see another gay pride march, another rainbow flag, or another step toward tolerance.
Cleve Jones, an LGBT civil rights activist, friend of Harvey Milk and founder of the AIDS memorial quilt, has organized a vigil on Wednesday in Harvey Milk Plaza, reports the LGBT blog Towleroad. Jones wrote:
Last Friday, as millions of LGBT people and their allies were celebrating Pride, something awful happened in Portland, Texas. We need to respond publicly to this tragedy. Whoever shot Mary Christine Chapa and Mollie Judith Olgin, whatever the motive, regardless of where it happened, two beautiful girls were shot and one was killed. We need to honor the memory of Mollie and pray for the recovery of Mary...Mary and Mollie loved each other. Now we need to show our love for them and their families and friends."