Queer Artist, Activist 'Bubbles' Killed In The Tenderloin

Queer artist and activist Bubbles—also known as Anthony Torres—was shot and killed by an unknown gunman outside the New Century club at 816 Larkin (near Myrtle) early Saturday morning, police reported. 

SFPD spokesperson Officer Giselle Linnane told Hoodline via email that a 30-year-old female, suffering from a gunshot wound, was transported to a hospital and pronounced deceased.

Torres—who worked as an artist, activist and DJ—was considered a public figure and well-known throughout the neighborhood.

(While two of Hoodline's sources described Bubbles as trans, the Examiner quoted a friend who said Torres identified as a gay man “who enjoyed wearing women’s clothing and makeup” whose preferred gender pronouns were "he" and "him.")

“It’s just devastating to know that somebody lost their life, somebody who brought joy and spirit to our community,” Board of Education member Matt Haney told the Examiner.

Haney lives near where the incident occurred. “The city has a responsibility to protect all of its residents and its most vulnerable members from violence," he said. "I hope that our city responds with urgency… to find the perpetrator.”

Lower Polk Community Benefit District director Christian Martin told Hoodline via email that he heard about the incident yesterday afternoon when his staff alerted him for help.

"My staff called this morning and asked me to pick up some bleach because there was a significant amount of blood near the park," Martin said. "We later found out there had been a murder and that was indeed the crime scene."

The New Century at 816 Larkin near Myrtle. | Photo: Kevin Y./Yelp

"We're hoping this isn't a trend," Martin added, "and that SFPD is putting the appropriate time and resources in this neighborhood to prevent violence and keep the trans community safe."

Neighbor David Elliott Lewis, who said he woke up to the sound of multiple gunshots, told the Examiner the killing was “extremely upsetting.”

“The police have been treating our neighborhood as a crime containment zone, for example, allowing round the clock drug dealing on my corner,” said Lewis, who lives near O’Farrell and Larkin streets. “It draws in crime, it draws in people who are high on coke and who are easily triggered.”

In remembrance, friends have posted an outpouring of messages on Bubbles' Facebook page today, sharing images of his art, photographs and fond memories. 

"Bubbles was a force of nature, his very existence a cockslap in the face to the establishment, and goddamn did we love him for it," Deejay TomasDiablo wrote on his own Facebook page.

"Bubbles was one of those rare eccentric personalities that made this town so special, our party scene's fairy trainwreck," TomasDiablo recalled. "His 'DGAF' attitude was awe-inspiring. I can't believe I'm referring to Bubbles in the past tense. Fuck everything about this."

Police have not released suspect information at this time.

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Queer artist activist bubbles killed in the tenderloin