On Monday, we told you how Dallas police had arrested two suspects they believe may be linked to a recent string of at least 12 anti-gay attacks in the city’s Oak Lawn neighborhood.
As it turns out, any connection between the apprehended teenagers and the brutal gay-bashings now appears to be shaky, at best.
In fact, the mother of one of the suspects says he was incarcerated during the period in which many of the Oak Lawn crimes were committed.
Police say they are looking to see if Deon Fridia and his friend Donedwin Maxie were involved in any of the violent crimes in the mostly LGBT community. There have been 13 attacks since September, causing fear and concern for people who live and patronize businesses in the area.
But Kimberly Lowe, the mom of suspect Deon, said her son can’t be the suspect for the string of other attacks.
“He couldn’t possibly have done all of the crimes because he was incarcerated for like 45 days and he just got out like 3 weeks ago,” Lowe said.
In addition, the carjacking Fridia and Maxie allegedly committed Sunday, which led to their arrests, differed significantly from the Oak Lawn incidents, according to WFAA-TV:
“It doesn’t seem to exactly match the pattern of sneaking up on unarmed male and hitting him over the head,” said Councilman Philip Kingston, who represents much of the Oak Lawn area.
Sources tell News 8 that police have no direct evidence linking the two suspects to the Oak Lawn attacks. Police are planning to conduct lineups with some of the Oak Lawn victims, but sources say investigators are doubtful they’ll be able to link the suspects to the offenses.
The recent anti-gay attacks have put the LGBT community on edge and sparked protests over the police department’s response. By publicizing Sunday’s arrests and suggesting a link to the Oak Lawn attacks, police may have been looking for some positive PR in the LGBT community. But if that’s the case, the decision appears to have backfired.
“Turns out DPD was intentionally misleading the Oak Lawn community with clever use of the media,” gay activist Daniel Cates wrote on Facebook. “One of the suspects arrested was IN JAIL in Collin County during the commission of most of the Oak Lawn attacks. Smoke and mirrors.”
At the very least, police can say increased patrols in Oak Lawn may have led to the apprehension of the suspects, given that they were arrested after being spotted on the gay strip in a stolen vehicle. Police believe the two teens were looking for additional victims near the gay bars, but it’s also probably too soon to rule out the possibility that they were cruising for something else.
Watch the reports from KDFW and WFAA below.