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Trial underway in killing of college student
QSanAntonio.com, June 4, 2011

In March of last year, 19-year-old Jasmayne McCollough, a San Antonio College student and member of the school's Gay and Lesbian Association, was killed by a bullet intended for someone else. Calvin Jackson, the man accused of shooting her, is now on trial.

According to testimony, Jackson had parked his SUV at a gas station with his kids inside when a gun battle broke out between two rival groups of men. The incident so incensed Jackson that he and some friends went looking for those involved in the gun fight.

Jackson believed the guilty parties were at the La Valencia Apartments in the 7800 block of Callaghan Road. On March 28, he and his posse fired several rounds into an apartment they thought contained the men they sought.

That same night McCollough was attending a birthday party for a friend at La Valencia when shots rang out. According to a report in the San Antonio Express-News, she was fatally shot in the head and died immediately. Police questioned several people at the scene and found shell casings in a hallway.

KENS-5 TV reported that the stray bullets entered through an apartment window. None of the nine bullets that Jackson fired hit any of the alleged gas station shooters.

Jackson was arrested by police last June. According to the Express News, a woman named Cynthia Parnham, testified against Jackson on Tuesday, saying he confessed to her the morning after the shooting.

“He's asked us if we'd seen the news,” she said. “He (said he) went and shot at the apartment and some girl died. He said ... that he didn't mean to shoot the girl.”

McCullough was a music theory major at the time of her death. Amanda Benton, president of GALA last year, told QSanAntonio, "Jasz was the musical genius of our group and was going to be our entertainment for our Spring GALA. She was one of those people that hugged everyone, even people she just met."

Man arrested in murder of roommate
QSanAntonio.com, February 12, 2011

Police arrested Jeffrey Brian Spaulding in connection with the murder of Ted Bruno Wildberger, his former roommate. The arrest warrant affidavit says the two men, who lived together until recently, had an on-again, off-again sexual relationship.

Wildberger's body was found in a pool of blood last Monday morning at his home in the 6800 block of Oldham. He had been strangled with an electric wire and stabbed several times in the neck. The house had been ransacked and some valuables had been removed.

Neighbors told deputies that on Saturday, February 5 they saw a tall slim man loading items from Wildberger's house into a U-Haul truck. Investigators found that a credit card issued to Wildberger was used to rent the ruck, and Spaulding was later identified as the person who rented the truck.

Detectives executed a search warrant at Spaulding's house in the 5600 block of Lon Cheney on Tuesday and said they found items taken from the victim's home.

Spaulding has an extensive criminal record that includes theft, false imprisonment, assault, drugs and robbery across four states. He most recently served time in Texas for felony drug charges.

"We don't believe that anyone else is involved in this case. We believe Spaulding acted alone," Deputy Chief Dale Bennett of the Bexar County Sheriff's Office told KSAT-TV. "We're confident that this is going to be closed pretty soon."

As of Wednesday, Spaulding was in the Bexar County Adult Detention Center with bail set at $250,000.

Obituary: Ted Wildberger
San Antonio Express-News, February 10, 2011
Ted B. Wildberger went to be with the Lord on February 7, 2011 at the age of 49.

Security guard at Sparky’s Pub says use of pepper spray was justified
QSanAntonio.com, December 9, 2010

A security guard at Sparky’s Pub says that he was physically attacked and verbally abused by two men during an argument over a parking space leaving him with no other option than to use pepper spray to defend himself.

The incident, which occurred on Thanksgiving night, November 25, began when two men parked their car in a reserved space and then refused to move it when the guard asked them to vacate the space. (See related story below.)

The guard, identified in the police report as Ryan McCosh, told police that the two men immediately became aggressive and belligerent.

At one point during the argument the guard put out his hand with a pointed finger telling the men they had to move the car. That is when, according to the guard, one of the men slapped the guard’s arm away and started coming closer to him in a threatening manner.

In a telephone interview with QSanAntonio, David Amrollah, proprietor of Bexar County Protective Services, the firm that provides security for Sparky’s, says that the argument quickly escalated.

According to Amrollah, the guard only sprayed one of the men but the spray ended up on both men’s faces. Acording to the police report, witnesses on the scene told police that the two men were the aggressors and that they pushed the guard.

The incident occurred shortly after 8:00 p.m., a time when the parking lot next to Sparky’s is closed and used for valet parking patrons. Sparky’s itself does not open until 9:00 p.m.

"We want Sparky’s patrons to know that we are not pepper spray happy," says Amrollah. He adds that the guard did not want to escalate the physical violence, so the pepper spray was used to diffuse the attack.

The police report says the guard did not wish to press charges. The two men were given a "criminal trespass warning" effectively banning them from returning to the club.

Bexar County Protective Services has provided security for Sparky’s, Luther’s and the Heat since last March. Amrollah says that thanks to the firm’s security procedures, the number of police calls to the bars have been greatly reduced during that time.

Man who was pepper sprayed at Sparky’s responds
By Jonathan Garner, QSanAntonio.com, December 10, 2010

Waking up this morning I received several messages letting me know that the security company had made a statement about the occurrence Thanksgiving night in the Sparky's Pub parking lot. Reading it, I was a little amazed to see the rather heroic depiction of a defenseless employee forced into using physical means to defend himself against what was being described as belligerent assailants.

Well my name is Jonathan Garner, and I happen to be one of the two individuals who was accused of escalating a disagreement over a mere parking space into what is now an ongoing battle for the rights of gay men and women in the San Antonio scene, seeking proper treatment when enjoying our time out in the community.

My partner and I are looking forward to our second anniversary and in this time of our relationship don't find ourselves out and about much. So to spend our holiday together we decided to enjoy an evening on the town, and instead found a rather abrupt end to that effort. When going down to the Strip, finding a decent parking space can sometimes be a challenge, so pulling up we saw what we call "princess parking," funny but I think we all look for it when going pretty much anywhere.

We pulled in and parked, right in the very front of the bar, but before making our way into the clubs we were confronted by the young security guard McCosh. The young man, in what I am sure has become the typical tone of authority needed to address customers, informed us that the space was not for the use of patrons but was instead reserved for the management of the bar. Our response was that it wasn't marked and that it didn't make sense to keep customers from parking in the parking lot for an establishment that they were about enter.

This questioning did not set well with the security guard, at this point he let us know that he had had a very bad day and that "we didn't want to mess with him." With just that response from us he turned almost immediately "locked and loaded" in a stance and demeanor that I am sure would be fitting for addressing some sort of oncoming attack.

With what had transformed into a barrage of profanity, he informed us that if we left the car there it would be towed, my partner told him that he didn't think so, just one moment and we will call and speak with the managers to first verify the reserved parking space and then to let them know of the aggravated manner the security guard was treating incoming customers.

McCosh let us know that he really didn't give a damn considering that his last day would only be a few days away either way. At this point I noted the guard had pulled his mace, and started to shake it at his side.

I did say its fine we can just move the car, I am sure the walk won't hurt us in any way but first we would be reporting him. At that the officer turned his verbal animosity to physicality, stepping in to forcibly remove my partner, who was searching for a number on his phone, from the parking lot by inserting his elbow into his chest and driving him back.

Now I have always been and will always be a pacifist, feeling that diplomacy is the best answer for almost any disagreement (especially for a parking space, lol). But I am sure that most people would agree that if you are going to attack my man, I am going to have a few less that polite things to say.

Stepping towards to attempt to get between them as I know that my partner, just being attacked, would have little desire to respond kindly, I shouted "Get your f*cking hands off of him." McCosh with his readied mace gave me a face full spray, turning then to get my partner on his neck.

Of course at this point we moved back, as 1) I can no longer see, was coughing with snot pouring out of my face. If you have never been maced, I would let you know it is not a pleasant experience. And 2) this obviously armed man just decided that brutality was the means by which he wanted to display his authority over a PARKING SPACE!!

We called the cops to file a report. They showed up with the EMS to give us a sodium chloride rinse. The officers, set us off to the side, spoke to the security guard, and after speaking with us informed us that McCosh had witnesses saying that we had been the aggressors, and have the choice to leave or be arrested and that the bar would be banning us from the property.

Now I have worked a couple of years in a bar setting and know that the service industry is often over flowing with inebriated individuals who have a tendency to be aggressive. So I know that dealing with people there can become tiresome, but it would seem that both the officers and the guard had become so desensitized by the clubbing culture that they failed to see a couple honestly out just for a good time. Not intoxicated. Not belligerent.

Now the community knowing both of us pretty well, know that we are not given to random acts of violence and that something wrong had happened. So they responded on Facebook, a week or better later we received a note from Scott Ross one of the reps from Sparkys letting us know that he would be looking into the incident and felt that it was an obviously unacceptable manner to treat anyone.

Now this is the response from Bexar County Security, hoping that they can paint a picture that would lean totally on the typical drunk.... but we are not all out to start bar fight. Initially my partner and I were just looking for a public apology and some knowledge that this sort of behavior wouldn't continue. But, seeing this response shows that neither the bar or the security company are willing to admit to a wrong-doing, instead they wish to pass it off as another disgruntled drunken patron. That to me is sad.

We will be filing a complaint with the department of public safety, and have already contacted the GLBT liaison for the SAPD, hoping that no one else finds themselves on the receiving end of a mace spray, or worse, for anything like this.

Beaten transgender woman met attacker on street corner
QSanAntonio.com, October 2, 2010

A 24-year-old transgender woman, who was raped and beaten in the early morning hours of September 23, met her assailant while she was walking near the corner of Highway 90 and Military Drive.

The victim’s name and the names of witnesses were blacked out from the copy of the police report QSanAntonio received from the SAPD’s Public Information Office. The report is labeled "Information preliminary - report not finalized."

According to the police report, the victim did not know the man who pulled up to her in a silver Chevy pickup truck. However, a friend she was with told her that the guy was "cool" so the victim got into the vehicle and the two went "driving around."

The victim told police that the man wanted to have sex but she said no. The man got angry and punched her in the face multiple times while screaming at her, "You want to be a woman!" The man pulled the truck over in a secluded area and the victim tried unsuccessfully to run away.

The man dragged the victim to a grassy area and pulled off her clothes and forced her to perform oral sex on him. The victim eventually was able to push the man away and run across the road to an apartment complex near the 3200 block of Hillcrest while her attacker drove away.

It was about 3 a.m. when the victim banged on the door of one apartment screaming "Please help me." The apartment owner let the victim in and called police.

The victim was treated by EMS medics at the scene. The police report says the victim suffered a black eye and scratches across her legs, arms and back. She was driven to the hospital by the apartment owner where she was received a rape exam and was medically released.

According to a report by KENS-TV, the police have not classified the assault as a hate crime. One reason for this could be that Texas hate crime laws do not cover gender identity. However, if the assailant is captured he could be held liable under federal hate crime laws which do protect transgender citizens.

The KENS-TV report sensationalized the story by conjecturing "A man was in for quite a surprise after learning the woman in his car was a transgender person . . . Police say the suspect apparently snapped . . ."

Even the police seemed befuddled by the victim’s gender. In the handwritten police report submitted by Officer T. Capell, all of the instances where he originally wrote "she" to describe the victim have had the "s" blacked out so they now read "he," and all of the "hers" are scratched out and written over to read "his."

Man snaps, brutally beats transgender woman
KENS5.com, September 24, 2010
A man was in for quite a surprise after learning the woman in his car was a transgender person. Police say the suspect apparently snapped and beat the woman in the face repeatedly before dumping her off at an apartment complex in the 3200 block of Hillcrest.

S.A. man stabs longtime partner in stomach
QSanAntonio.com, June 7, 2010

An argument between two longtime partners ended in violence when one of the men stabbed the other in the stomach on June 5 at their home on the 400 block of Pinewood Lane.

According to the police report, 40-year-old Victor Benavides may have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs when he stabbed his 70-year-old partner Fred Estrada in the stomach with a fillet knife.

Benavides reportedly said, "It's you or me. Whoever survives gets a million," prior to attacking Estrada. Police say they found the knife in the kitchen sink.

After the stabbing, Benavides fled the house and Estrada stumbled to his next door neighbor's to ask for help. "Help me," I've been stabbed. Victor stabbed me and ran off," he said according to the police report.

Estrada was taken to University Hospital in critical condition. According to one source, he was scheduled for release from the hospital on June 7.

While Estrada was being taken to the hospital, police received a call from a store in the 8500 block of Jones Maltsberger where EMS was treating Benavides for cuts to his arm.

Witnesses on the scene told police that Benavides purchased some box cutters and had slashed his arm. The police report says Benavides may have been trying to commit suicide.

A friend of the couple told QSanAntonio that Estrada and Benavides have been together for about 21 years. Recently Estrada has been in frail health and Benavides has been his sole caregiver.

Benavides was booked in Bexar County Jail on one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. A judge set bail at $50,000.

Report of man assaulted outside gay bathhouse proves erroneous
QSanAntonio.com, June 3, 2010

A news report aired last weekend on KENS-5 television reported that a man was assaulted outside of the Executive Health Club on Austin Street. The report never mentioned that the Executive is a gay bathhouse, but on the Sunday night broadcast the KENS reporter alluded that the assault might be a hate crime.

The KENS report, which aired on at least three newscasts but was never available online, got the facts mostly right. An unconscious man bleeding from the head was found by police who came after being called to the scene.

The caller told police that the victim had been stabbed. When they arrived on the scene the caller, who identified himself as a friend of the victim, tells police he saw "males in a red van" assault his friend in the parking lot of the Executive.

The police could not detect any knife wounds on the man -- only abrasions and contusions to his face and head and a cut that was bleeding. The victim could not speak coherently and was taken to Metropolitan Hospital in fair condition.

One witness on the scene could only testify to the fact that he saw a man on the ground passed out and bleeding. No one except the friend of the victim had seen the knife assault and the red van.

Being a business that caters to gay men, it was easy for the KENS reporter to conjecture that the attack might be a hate crime. QSanAntonio received several emails from readers who had seen the segment asking if police were investigating the assault as a hate crime.

Using details provided in the police report, QSanAntonio found that no hate crime or assault occurred. What did happen was an unfortunate comedy of errors involving a couple of guys on a bender.

The friend and the victim were both "highly intoxicated" and had been denied entry into the Executive according to the police report. A doorman at the club told police that as the men were walking away the victim fell twice "flat on his face."

Police reviewed the surveillance video from the Executive’s parking lot and confirmed the doorman’s account of what had happened.

Man arrested for assault at Heat nightclub
QSanAntonio.com, March 9, 2010

A 24-year-old man was arrested for assault in the early morning hours of March 7 at the Heat nightclub after he allegedly cut another patron during a heated verbal exchange.

The 23-year-old male victim received a deep cut to the chest and one to his hand inflicted by a shard of broken glass. When police arrived at the scene at about 2:00 a.m., they found the injured man standing in front of the Heat holding his hand over his chest wound.

According to the police report, the victim, who appeared intoxicated, gave several versions of how he was injured. At one point he told police that the assailant tried to stab him with a piece of glass but could not remember precisely.

A witness told police that the two men had been arguing and the spat eventually turned into a pushing match. The witness says that the assailant threw a cocktail glass that broke into pieces and cut the victim.

Police arrested Jonathan D. Montoya for assault with bodily injury. The victim was examined at the scene by EMS and taken to Brook Army Medical Center where he was listed in stable condition.