Suspect arrested in 2012 shooting of teen lesbian couple in S. Texas

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Kristene Chapa, left, and Mollie Olgin

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David Malcom Strickland

Two years after the shooting and apparent rape of a teenage lesbian couple in South Texas, their alleged attacker has finally been apprehended.

Mollie Olgin, 19, died in the shooting and her girlfriend, 18-year-old Mary Kristene Chapa, was seriously injured. The incident, which occurred at a bayside park near Corpus Christi on June 23, 2012, made national news amid fears it was an anti-gay hate crime.

On Friday, just three days before the two-year anniversary of the shooting, the U.S. Marshals Service arrested David Malcom Strickland, 27, in Helotes, Texas, KSAT reports. Strickland faces charges of capital murder, aggravated assault with a weapon and aggravated sexual assault in connection with the crime. The sexual assault charge is the first indication since the attack that the couple was also raped.

“The information that we received is that he approached them at gunpoint, he brought them down to a grassy area in the park and that’s where the assault and shootings took place,” the U.S. Marshals Service Chris Bozeman told KSAT.

It’s still unclear whether the victims’ sexual orientation may have been a motive for the attack, which occurred shortly before midnight at Violet Andrews Park in Portland, Texas. The victims weren’t found until 8:30 the next morning. Olgin died at the scene and Chapa, who was shot in the head, suffered traumatic brain injuries and has undergone extensive rehabilitation. 

The LGBT community helped organize vigils across the country in the wake of the crime, including one at the park where the shootings occurred.

“Thanks everyone for the texts, messages, and calls but my family and I are just kinda in shock and just shook up,” Chapa wrote on Facebook on Friday. “We need time to let it sink and just process the news we’ve waited on for 2 years. Please keep us in your prayer[s].”

Strickland was being held at the Helotes Police Department awaiting extradition to the San Patricio County Jail, according to reports.

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