UPDATES 5/30: I’ve added yet another update at the end of this post — this one an elegant, reflective piece by poet Michael Medrano. Plus: Fresno police have interviewed more than 30 people and received more than 25 tips about the slaying but have not identified any suspects or made any arrests, The Bee’s Eddie Jimenez reports.
UPDATE 5/28: I’ve added a moving tribute to Eric Catlapp posted over the weekend by Bryan Harley on his Facebook page. For those who missed the news, several hundred people gathered Sunday evening to remember Catlapp.
ORIGINAL POST: Our thoughts at the Beehive are with the family, friends and colleagues of local filmmaker Eric Catlapp, 32, who died early this morning. The attack on him in the Tower District is one of those senseless acts of violence that has you reaching for something to steady yourself as you contemplate the randomness and brevity of life.
We’re also thinking about the close-knit Tower District. Though not all the city’s cultural events take place there, there’s something special about the neighborhood — a vitality and creative spark — that makes it seem the cultural heart of Fresno. (I’ve always told people from all over Fresno they should treasure the Tower even if they don’t go there very often. Every vibrant bigger city needs the idea of a place like this. Without it, we’re just living in a big strip mall.) We have no doubt the Tower District will band together and overcome this brutal blow.
From the CMAC:
Today we learned that one of our kindest, most productive and helpful members, Eric Catlapp, passed away. Eric was so excited about video production that he recently purchased his own camera equipment and was seldom seen without at least one camera and often more. He was a fixture here at CMAC and could often be found hanging around talking with members about projects and new ideas.
Eric was always willing to help anyone who needed it and worked for hundreds of hours on his own and other members’ projects. He loved CMAC and was devoted to our mission and our members. We will miss him greatly.
And here’s a statement from Irma Olguin, current owner/operator of The Hashtag, via one of its founders, Travis Sheridan:
Dear Hashtag Family,
Early this morning Hashtag Member Eric Catlapp died at Community Regional Medical Center. It is believed that Eric was working at The Hashtag, left the facility and returned a short time later asking for help. The Fresno Bee is reporting that Eric was stabbed while outside of The Hashtag, and was later taken to CRMC after other members of The Hashtag called emergency personnel to the scene. As of this time the identity of the assailant, the motive, and the events that took place while Eric was outside of The Hashtag are unknown. At this point, we are all left with more questions than answers.We are saddened by this tragedy. We are angered by this violence. And, above all else, we are mourning the loss of a life.
The safety of our members is and will continue to be a priority. At no point during these events was the security of The Hashtag breached. In the coming days we will be working with neighboring businesses and the Tower District community to determine whether there is anything that we can be doing to improve safety in our neighborhood. The Hashtag is cooperating with law enforcement in their ongoing investigation.
As you know, The Hashtag closed today for the first time in its history. We intend to reopen later today or