HOUSTON - A man's body found hanging from a tree at 610 and Ella Blvd has stirred up fear and concern among the Houston community in Shady Acres.
Disturbing images capturing the scene went viral on social media with people referring to the incident as a "lynching of a black man."
Houston Police said the medical examiner's office identified the man as a Hispanic man who took his own life.
Investigators said no foul play is suspected at this time.
However, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee believes there could be more to the story after an eerie pattern of recent suicides where black men were found hanging from trees.
"People are on edge they are nervous this is a troubling a challenging time for us. It is shocking in our community and no death in that form should go univestigated so it will be my effort since it occurred in the 18th Congressional district so I will make sure it is investigated thoroughly," Lee said.
Houston Police said detectives were called to the area outside a Circle Saw Shop shortly after 9 a.m. Monday.
"At that time, the Medical Examiner’s office came out and did a thorough investigation and determined it was a Hispanic male most likely by suicide. If they thought there was any foul play at all, the ME”s office, which is not associated with the Houston Police Dept, would’ve contacted HPD and we would’ve come out and sent the whole homicide team out," said HPD Commander Spears.
Folks near the scene weren't convinced that no foul play was involved. The disturbing images shared on social media drew the attention of Houston rappers and community activists Bun B, Trae the Truth and Paul Wall to come out and see for themselves.
However, all three declined to comment.
"We're talking about multiple people hanging from trees across America in the middle of a race war that's going," said Anthony Scott, who lives near the area.
"With everything that’s been transpiring, with all of the hangings that have been taking place within the last two weeks, why wouldn't you automatically assume foul play? No one is hanging themselves from a tree," said a man who didn't want to provide his name on camera.
Investigators said the Medical Examiner's Office has identified the man and his family has been made aware of his death, however they will not be releasing his name at this point.
HPD Chief Art Acevedo said in a tweet Monday evening said the family "described the man as suicidal" and added the current evidence points to this incident being a suicide.
If you or someone you know struggles with suicidal thoughts, you can call The Harris Center Crisis Line at 713-970-7000 (Option 1) or you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
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