Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

March, rally planned for slain SF artist known as Bubbles

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Anthony ‘Bubbles’ Torres

Friends and family of Anthony “Bubbles” Torres, the LGBT San Francisco artist who was shot to death recently in the Tenderloin, will hold a march and rally Friday, September 22 to call on police to find Torres’ killer.

The gathering will begin at 4 p.m. with a march leading from Larkin and Myrtle streets, the site of Torres’ killing, and end at 5 p.m. with a rally at City Hall.

Torres, 44, reportedly got into an altercation with someone from the New Century Theater strip club at 2:50 a.m. Saturday, September 9. According to police scanner activity that was recorded just after the shooting, someone reported that the incident had “spilled out” from the club, and that the suspect “chased the victim across the street, where he fell to the ground. The suspect then stood over him, fired the three rounds, and took off southbound.”

Torres was well known in the Tenderloin and other communities for his love of music, dancing, and handing out free snow cones and cotton candy near the area where he was killed, as well as for wearing big blond wigs and skimpy women’s clothing.

Police said Tuesday, September 19 that the case is still under investigation and that no arrests have been made. Police have also said that they don’t have evidence that Torres’ killing was a hate crime, but a news release from organizers of Friday’s rally says that many feel investigators have been “too quick to dismiss” anti-LGBT hate as a motivation.

According to the news release, Torres had lived in San Francisco for 20 years, most recently in an apartment near where he was killed.

“Torres did things his way and has left a colorful, memorable legacy,” friends stated. “He often insisted that party revelers ‘Shut up and dance,’ which has grown into a catchphrase among the music and arts community.”

Charlotte “The Baroness” Kaufman, a DJ and close friend of Torres’, stated that he “was true to himself, making no apologies for his lifestyle and self expression. He had a million dreams. Anthony also made damn sure that you understood how much he believed in you, in me, in all of us really. Even on his darkest days he could bring smiles to our faces and laughter to our hearts. I feel that we lost a light that could never be replaced.”

Mayor Ed Lee issued a statement Friday, September 15 – almost a week after Torres’ death – asking people “to cooperate with the police so we can bring Bubbles’ killer to justice.” Lee stated that officials would “expend all efforts necessary to support the investigation of this crime.”

Police are “working vigorously to solve” the case, the mayor said, and “while initial reports do not indicate that the killing was motivated by hate, we are nonetheless shocked and saddened that one of San Francisco’s most colorful activists has been lost to violence.”

Friends and supporters have raised more than $13,000 for memorial services and other gatherings in Torres’ honor.

People with information about Torres’ killing may call the San Francisco Police Department’s Tip Line at (415) 575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411. Begin the text message with “SFPD.” Tips may be reported anonymously. The incident number is 170 735 890.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, September 20, 2017 @ 3:43 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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