Gay Pride | News | San Diego

Performer Fatally Shot in San Diego Gay Boat Cruise Tragedy


A gay party cruise on the Hornblower yacht 'Inspiration' being run by promoter Bill Hardt to coincide with the city's Gay Pride festival on Saturday night turned tragic, as one of the go-go boys hired to dance on the cruise somehow fell overboard, and after a series of events was ultimately shot and killed by police attempting to rescue him. The cruise, which featured DJs Manny Lehman and Chris Cox, ran from 10pm to 2am in San Diego's harbor. When the man, identified as Steven Hirschfield, from West Hollywood, first went overboard, the ship immediately called police who responded while crew members from the ship attempted a rescue. Crew members reported that Hirschfield resisted their attempts to rescue him.

SdboatAccording to the San Diego Union Tribune, "Hornblower crew members threw flotation devices to Hirschfield and stayed near him until Harbor Police arrived, Unger said. A police boat found Hirschfield in the water about 500 feet south of the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station on Harbor Drive across from Lindbergh Field. The water is about 40 feet deep in that part of the bay, authorities said. When Hirschfield boarded the Harbor Police boat, he scuffled with the two officers on board, Harbor Police said. Hirschfield knocked one officer to the deck, took the officer's Taser gun and began beating him in the face with it, Harbor Police said. Hirschfield then tried to get the injured officer's firearm. As he struggled to get control of the gun, the second officer shot Hirschfield once, Harbor Police said."

Hirschfield was pronounced dead at the dock.

Emails from Towleroad readers report that it took more than two hours for all to fully disembark from the boat as officers interrogated each and every passenger about the incident.

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  1. WTF...?

    Posted by: yeahisaidit | Jul 21, 2008 10:38:33 AM

  2. Strippers and drugs, not a good mix. I want to hear from any of the passengers to hear what happened.

    Posted by: davefromtampa | Jul 21, 2008 10:38:45 AM

  3. Sounds like someone was hitting the meth too hard and finally freaked out. oh well

    Posted by: ousslander | Jul 21, 2008 10:53:55 AM

  4. High.

    Posted by: David D. | Jul 21, 2008 11:00:00 AM

  5. A tragedy? Give me a break.

    Posted by: jim F | Jul 21, 2008 11:02:17 AM

  6. Now wouldn't this have been a GOOD time to actually use a tazer?

    Posted by: BusyTimmy | Jul 21, 2008 11:02:43 AM

  7. Wow,

    Miss Thing did way too much drugs.

    Posted by: Maverick69 | Jul 21, 2008 11:07:18 AM

  8. OUSSLANDER and DAVE, forgive me if I'm wrong, but it seems like you've determined that since it was a go-go boy from WeHo that he was a deranged drug addict and that his death is no loss.

    He may have been suicidal or paranoid schizophrenic. Regardless, I think it's a tragedy and will try to resist further speculation until more facts are in.

    Posted by: Mark | Jul 21, 2008 11:07:34 AM

  9. Yeah, my first thought was that he was suicidal, and mad that he was being rescued. Certainly that's not an easy sentiment for any of us to digest, but who knows what was going through his head.

    But taser-whipping a cop in the face? And then trying to grab his gun?

    That's not suicidal. That's Tina'd to the gods.

    Just smoke weed, people.

    Posted by: JeffRob | Jul 21, 2008 11:16:22 AM

  10. I agree with timmy - couldn't the police have found another way to subdue him?

    Posted by: Paul | Jul 21, 2008 11:18:29 AM

  11. Why would someone want to go on a gogo shipride if they were suicidal. Circumstancial evidence would suggest that he was high on something.

    Posted by: tooboot | Jul 21, 2008 11:23:50 AM

  12. I disagree with TIMMY and with PAUL. He was assaulting an officer with a taser and attempting to reach for the officer's firearm. The men and women who put on the uniform and risk their lives daily for society have every right, in my opinion, to shoot and kill anyone putting their lives in jeopardy. Especially someone who must clearly have been whacked out on drugs.

    Posted by: Dan B | Jul 21, 2008 11:30:04 AM

  13. WTF! You go for an officers gun your going to get shot.

    Posted by: Brianb | Jul 21, 2008 11:32:02 AM

  14. WTF! You go for an officers gun your going to get shot.

    Posted by: Brianb | Jul 21, 2008 11:32:13 AM

  15. WTF! You go for an officers gun your going to get shot.

    Posted by: Brianb | Jul 21, 2008 11:32:18 AM

  16. So to get it straight, since it's been determined that he was clearly a pole dancing meth queen of no redeemable value to the gay population (except as a sex object) and so high off his gourd that he was not of right mind, then he deserved to die.

    I'm sorry to say that my personal experiences with police makes me suspicious, especially in a conservative area like San Diego.

    Posted by: Mark | Jul 21, 2008 11:52:31 AM

  17. Mark-
    The police are not always to be trusted, given.

    But let's double check our criteria for deserving (or at least expecting) to die:

    pole dancing meth queen? nope.
    sex object? nope.
    high off your gourd? nope.

    reaching for the weapon of an officer you've been beating with his own taser, while he attempts to rescue you? you betcha.

    Could they have subdued him better? Maybe, but you're not gonna subdue a whacko holding a .45 with a taser. And it sounds like he was about half a sec from holding a .45.

    Posted by: JeffRob | Jul 21, 2008 12:11:24 PM

  18. damn! this sucks!!! I watched the local news last night and couldn't believe it

    Posted by: Alexsander | Jul 21, 2008 12:24:13 PM

  19. Seems this guy was a marginally employed actor, appearing in films like "Sexual Magic" in 2001 and "The Return" in 1980 -- when he was about 9 years old. (Can't find any pics.)Hate to sound cynical, but having lived in LA for years, I've seen what happens to people who chase fame a little too long. I'm speculating some combo of drugs/steroids/bullshit made him go apeshit. Really sad.

    Posted by: ML | Jul 21, 2008 12:28:09 PM

  20. This story reeks of someone cracked out on GHB which we all know the circuit queens love to guzzle like water!

    Then too there is plenty of times I wish I had a gun to shoot myself listening to Manny and Chris' sets!!!

    Posted by: GHB anyone? | Jul 21, 2008 12:34:38 PM

  21. Good riddance, gay trash whacko.

    Posted by: nikko | Jul 21, 2008 12:35:25 PM

  22. So what's his porn name?

    Posted by: Mike | Jul 21, 2008 1:00:55 PM

  23. what ? Tranqs are only good for elephants?

    Posted by: baophac | Jul 21, 2008 1:01:54 PM

  24. As a former police officer, and yes I am gay, if someone reaches for an officers gun and there is any likelyhood of him getting it, the nearest officer usually shoots the suspect. It is that simple. When a suspect decides to grab a gun, he forfeits his life.

    Posted by: john | Jul 21, 2008 1:02:05 PM

  25. Did they interview the cop who got smashed in the face? I would expect a thorough investigation.

    Posted by: anon | Jul 21, 2008 1:05:05 PM

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