Communities Unite to Support Mollie and Kristene

A vigil was held in New York City’s Union Square Park on Sunday for Texas teens Mollie Olgin and Mary Kristene Chapa, who were shot execution style in Portland, Texas in late June. Mollie, 19, was pronounced dead on the scene and 18-year-old Kristene, her girlfriend of five months, is recovering in intensive care. The Chapa family is receiving donations through WePay to cover their daughter’s medical costs, as Mr. Chapa, an Iraq war veteran, is between jobs and the family is uninsured.

Those keeping vigil brought candles and homemade signs, some of which read “Stop attacks on our youth”, “Violence against our kids is violence against us all!”, and “Mollie loved Mary—We love all our youth”.

The evening concluded with a speak-out from those in attendance, including members of the Metropolitan Community Church and Queer Rising, which posted pictures from the vigil on Facebook.

“What happens when tragedies occur, whether it be in the middle of Chicago, in the middle of New York, or in rural Texas, that affects us here today,” said one attendee. “The way we combat these tragedies is to stand up and shout, ‘this is unacceptable.’”

Though the local police of Portland, Texas Rangers, and the FBI had initially been struggling to gather evidence for the grassy crime scene, a witness recently came forward to describe the shooter. The killer is believed to be a 5’8 white man with dark hair, weighing about 140 pounds, according to ABC News.

The attack is not formally being considered a hate crime. The investigation has not found evidence to suggest the shootings were motivated by discrimination, though Portland’s Chief of Police has said that the crime did not appear to be random.

Whether or not Kristene and Mollie were targeted because of their identities, one woman at the vigil said, “it still affects the entire queer community.”

Union Square Park hosted just one of many vigils being held internationally this week. Upcoming vigils will take place on Tuesday in San Diego, California and in El Paso, Texas.

Visit Kristene's family's fundraising page to help cover Kristene’s medical expenses.

More photos, courtesy of Lauren DeCicca, can be found in an album on GLAAD's Facebook.