Popular Texas Drag Queen Dies In Police Custody
The El Paso, Texas LGBT community is mourning the loss of popular drag queen Mercedes Demarco (born Fernando Gomez), who died on Sunday while in police custody.
Some believe the shock of being tasered by police killed Mercedes, but the erratic behavior she displayed that lead to her arrest might help explain the situation.
Jaime Gonzalez Licon, 58, told the Times that he was awakened by shouts at the Budget Lodge in the Sunset Heights area of El Paso around 4:00 a.m. on Sunday. He stepped outside to smoke a cigarette and saw a man in a dress in the hotel parking lot yelling frantically and ringing the bell for the hotel manager’s office.
Within minutes, said Gonzales, police where on the scene. They cuffed Gomez and used a taser to subdue the performer, who reportedly became combative.
“He was hysterical like he was afraid – really really afraid,” Gonzalez said. “He got out screaming and yelling. He was hysterical. He didn’t cooperate at all. He was irrational.”
According to police, Gomez became “unresponsive” during transport to the Central Regional Command Center in downtown El Paso. Police attempted first aid and paramedics rushed Gomez to the Las Palmas Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.
“She had this beautiful grace about her. She had a kindness to her face,” said Mercedes' friend Barbie, also a drag queen. “She always had this beautiful kindness to her. She was a lady when I would see her around town.”
“She was actually a role model for a lot of the younger ones,” Barbie said. She explained that other drag performers in El Paso use the Demarco name as a tribute to their mentor, Mercedes. “In drag culture, all of your pupils take your last name. She had many many daughters that she had mentored. She was one of the founding performers in this generation.”
Toxicology and autopsy reports that'll pinpoint the cause of death have been requested.
(Source: El Paso Times)