A 22-year-old man was shot and killed in the parking lot of a popular gay bar in Montrose early Thursday, while a second man was shot and critically injured a few blocks away just moments later.
The violence erupted outside F Bar on Tuam Street about 1:10 a.m. in a possible car jacking. The victim was near his car in the parking lot as a female companion sat inside. Two assailants approached him, robbed and shot him when he refused to give the men the keys to his car. The two were leaving after attending the bar's talent contest on Wednesday night.
People nearby ran inside the club when they heard the shot and the victim staggered nearly 75 feet toward the front of F Bar before collapsing.
The victim after being shot managed to make it approximately 75 feet near the front of the club before hitting a wall and falling to the ground and dying on the scene. As of 4:30am the club was still an active homicide scene, and the medical examiners office had yet to have arrived.
F Bar's owner, Irwin Palchick, said he called police when the victim's friend ran inside the bar.
“When we heard the bang, everybody did scream that were outside. Everybody just rushed into it when we heard the big bang,” he said.
The bar employs off-duty Houston police officers to provide security on the weekends, but not on weeknights earlier in the week. Beefed up security, Palchick said, “could not have prevented the sad tragedy.” He added that the incident shows that customers and employees are at risk.
“It's very scary to know that there are people out there that will harm people for a vehicle. Our employees are at risk. Our customers are at risk,” said Palchick.
The shooting caused chaos among patrons at the club.
According to a club patrons on the patio- “We all heard the gunshot, and it was so scary, everyone hit the ground because we did not know where it was coming from.” The night club was on police lock-down from approximately 12:40am until after 3am. When patrons were allowed to leave after presenting HPD with a identification.
“They told us someone got shot in the head, that somebody tried to mug a car, and the driver apparently tried to fight back, and apparently got shot in the head,” said bar patron Richard Garcia.
About six bocks away, and just moments after the shooting at the gay Houston club, a second man was shot inside a pickup truck near the intersection of Milam and Dennis streets. The man was taken to Ben Taub General Hospital where he was in critical condition, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Police did not release the identities of either victim. They also told media outlets that investigators are working to determine if the two shootings are related. On Thursday morning, a Houston police spokesperson told Project Q Houston that he was awaiting an update from homicide investigators.
The murder and second shooting come less than four weeks after a gay man was robbed and shot as he walked home from Meteor, another Montrose gay bar. John Gaspari was attacked on Feb. 15 and his assailants yelled, “Get the fag” during the attack as one of his attackers shot him in the stomach.
[image via KHOU]