Members of the Philadelphia gay and lesbian community joined in arms at Philadelphia’s Love Park Friday evening in remembrance and support for teen couple Mollie Judith Olgin and her girlfriend Mary Kristene Chapa.
Both young women were found Saturday, June 23, in Portland, TX, with gunshot wounds to the head. Mollie was pronounced dead, while Mary was rushed to a nearby hospital, where she was listed in critical but stable condition.
“We are here tonight to honor and celebrate Molly and Mary’s love,” Laura Murphy, one of the vigil organizers said. “I am here with you to stand against the violence that stopped there two young women from loving one another.”
Police at the time had only recovered a bullet casing at the scene of the crime, but had no suspect. Recently, ABC News reported that a witness has come forward.
The witness described the suspect as a white male in his 20s with dark hair, estimated to be 5-foot-8 and weighing around 140 pounds.
“This is a war against women,” Chris Bartlett, Director of The William Way Community Center said. “We have to do everything we can against this war.”
Other participants at the vigil, which included members from Philly Dyke March, shared their stories and similar experiences of violent related incidents where they were targeted are ousted simply for being for who they are.
The crowd of 30, which expanded as curious onlookers stopped by, listened attentively over the loud rushing waters of the Love Park fountain and of nearby youth.
“I’ve been laughed at, chased, even beaten,” said one participant of the vigil. “We stand united at times, but we stay divided most of the times.”
ABC also reported that the Portland Police Department is being assisted by Federal law enforcement agencies, the Texas rangers, and the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Visitors lit candles and said a solemn prayer. More vigils were organized around the country.