Houston park ranger accused of targeting gay men at Cullen Park for money

Jessica Willey Image
Wednesday, June 12, 2024
Houston Park Ranger accused of targeting gay men at Cullen Park
Only on ABC13, a victim is speaking out after he says a Houston Park Ranger demanded him to lure gay men to the park.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A City of Houston park ranger has been arrested and charged with official oppression following one man's hourslong ordeal at Cullen Park.

Joey Lamar Ellis, 33, was booked into jail Tuesday morning. The Houston Parks and Recreation Department confirms they were notified about the park ranger's arrest. City records show Ellis has been employed since 2019.

According to Houston police, officers were called out to Cullen Park on Saums Road at about 3 a.m. for a robbery. There, they met with Joshua Beede, who talked to ABC13 on Tuesday night.

"It's not right what he (Ellis) did," Beede said.

Beede said he was sleeping in his car at the park when a man driving a truck with police lights and wearing park ranger attire knocked on his window and threatened him.

"He said he was going to have my car towed away. I was going to be arrested, sent downtown, and see a judge the next morning," Beede rattled off.

The man had a gun in his pocket, which he referenced, Beede said, and he started to make demands. First, he made video recordings of Beede admitting to things he had not done, and then he told him to take off his clothes, "which was super violating," Beede said.

According to Beede, Ellis took his ID, demanded cash, as well as help with luring gay men to the park through a dating app, presumably, to do the same thing. He says he gave the man $120 and went along with it until he could get away to call 911.

"I was, like, fearful for my life, so I was doing everything he said," Beede explained.

Police responded and arrested Ellis, adding they found a gun on him.

Houston Parks and Rec declined to comment about the case or Ellis' status with the department.

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