Wrongful Death of Fred Paez

In 1980, I was working for my Master’s at Rice University, Houston, TX, while still a Captain in the Army and tuition paid by the US Army.

A graduate student named Fred Paez, widely known as gay, had been killed by police gunfire.  The Montrose Patrol, a group of gays and lesbians (there was no LGBT community at the time) and their supporters, came to me for my opinion and advertised that I would “testify” at a TV news conference.

I came under intense pressure from Army channels that I should keep my mouth shut and not help some “dead fu&%ing fag$#t”; or my career would be in jeopardy.

At the news conference, I stated, as forcefully as I thought I could, that Fred Paez was a victim of at least reckless disregard.  A news anchor interviewed me off camera and I gave him full details as to why I thought it was an execution.

Fred was buried on a stormy, dark, and cold day.  Few were present at graveside.  But the news fellow kept poking around.

Some 18 months later, it became public that the cop who shot Fred was also gay and was Fred’s secret lover.  He murdered Fred because he thought that Fred was going to “out” him.   I should have fought harder for Mr. Paez.

That became a turning point for me as I resolved to truly live up to that portion of the Cadet Prayer which reads ”Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong and never to be content with a half truth when the whole can be won.”.