About 50 people rallied in Montrose on Friday, hoping to Take Back Montrose in the wake of the shooting death of a man outside a gay bar and other recent violent crimes.
The rally at the intersection of Montrose and Westheimer came a day after two teens allegedly gunned down 22-year-old gay Houston man Juan Carlos Ramirez in the parking lot of F Bar after he and a friend attended a talent show at the bar. Police said the suspects – ages 15 and 16 – robbed Ramirez and took his vehicle early Thursday. Hours later, the pair was arrested after police found them in Ramirez's Ford sedan.
On Friday, protesters included longtime LGBT activist Ray Hill and F Bar owner Irwin Palchick. Several Houston police officers were also at the event. Rally participants carried signs detailing crime in the area and calling for increased police patrols. Signs also included the hashtag #AllLivesMatters.
The rally on Friday was organized by Brad Janacek, who says he's moved out of Montrose over concerns about crime.
Their signs made the message clear. It's time to “take back Montrose.” Brad Janacek organized dozens of concerned Montrose residents Friday night to peacefully protest at the intersection of Westheimer and Montrose. They're asking The Houston Police Department for more police presence in the area. “We're fed up as a community and I don't live here anymore because of the crime,” said Janacek.
In the wake of Ramirez's murder, some 258 people donated $13,125 to a Go Fund Me campaign to pay for his funeral. A viewing is scheduled for Monday and his funeral will be held Tuesday at Compean Funeral Home.
A candlelight vigil is set for Tuesday at Hyde Park followed by a public meeting about violence at the Montrose Remembrance Garden:
Please Join us to Honor the life of Juan Carlos Ramirez, who was murdered in a Carjacking early last Thursday.
Immediately following the vigil there will be local community leaders to speak out against violence. A representative from Harris County Precinct 1 Constables office will also speak on their efforts in combating crime in the area.
The location will be at the new site of The Montrose Remembrance Garden inspired by the brutal murder of Aaron Scheerhoorn in 2010 outside of Blur.
Please Share this and invite as many people as you can to show our support for Juan Carlos Ramirez and his family.
On Sunday, F Bar is hosting a memorial fundraiser show in honor of Ramirez. On April 11, Houston police Chief Charles McClelland and top commanders will meet with LGBT residents during a town hall at the Montrose Center.
Ramirez's murder comes just weeks after another gay Houston man, John Gaspari, was shot and robbed as he walked home from Meteor. His attackers yelled “get the fag” during the incident.
Photos by Rob Martinez Photography