Their signs made the message clear. It's time to "take back Montrose." Brad Janacek organized dozens of concerned Montrose residents Friday night to peacefully protest at the intersection of Westheimer and Montrose. They're asking The Houston Police Department for more police presence in the area. "We're fed up as a community and I don't live here anymore because of the crime," said Janacek.
There is nothing peaceful about recent crimes in that area. "We've noticed that Montrose has been far more aggressive recently," said one protester.
Juan Carols Ramirez, 22, was shot and killed during a carjacking Thursday morning outside of a gay bar on Tuam. "Things like this shouldn't happen and it could happen to anyone. He wasn't doing anything bad he was just having a good time," said Beatriz Andrade, the victim's cousin.
Two teenage boys, just 15 and 16 years old, are under arrest charged with capital murder. "He was a great guy. He was a good person. He had a whole life ahead of him," said Andrade.
On the same night of the murder, another man was shot in his truck on Milam but survived. Protester Bobby Lowe thinks the LGBTQ community should be worried and not just about these latest violent incidents, but about a perceived uptick in car burglaries and thefts.
"I think it's about gay people being targeted. They're coming here for a reason and the reason is because gay people, [criminals] feel like their easier targets," said Lowe.
Houston Police are investigating to see if the victims were targeted for any reason. "We want everybody in the community to feel safe. If they don't feel safe it's our job to make them feel safe by getting more patrol officers out here."
That's just the result the protesters are hoping for. "If they're going to do it, then let's see it," said Janacek.
The family of the victim, Juan Carlos Ramirez, has set up a GoFundMe page for his final expenses.