El Paso, TX (KDBC) — El Paso Police have identified the man who died while in their custody Sunday morning, after an incident in West El Paso.
He was 36-year old Fernando Gomez. Friends tell us Gomez was better known as transgender performer, Mercedes Demarco, who had a generous heart and troubled past.
Friends gathered at the Briar Patch to remember who they call a star in their community. Mercedes Demarco.
"Someone with beautiful a character," said friend and rival Manuel Molina. "Someone who is striking mischievous and you just look at her and you don't know".
"She was an innovator ," said friend, Javier Mota.
"She helped me start out by being a great teacher," said Rick Ramirez. "If i needed anything, she was always there. She would help with wigs, costumes, make up".
36-year old Fernando Gomez, a.k.a. Mercedes Demarco died early sunday morning in police custody.
"She's definitely a local icon," said Molina. "She's definitely won a lot of titles. She loved her alter ego, so I think a lot of people are definitely going to miss her".
Molina has known Mercedes since 1996. He competes as female impersonator.
"Mercedes Demarco and Cassandra Paige Jones people know the history and the drama that we had and the whole rivalry and the whole competition," said Molina.
Molina said Mercedes had a troubled past, that she meant well, but sometimes couldn't admit she was down.
"Because she was so into herself and too embarrassed to admit to herself that she was sad or lonely, she reached towards drugs," Molina said. "I think that if somebody would have reached out to her she would still be alive".
Abright star in El Paso's gay community has faded away.
Demarco has a long wrap sheet including spending 15 days in jail this past July for resisting arrest.
Witnesses said Demarco was acting irrational and violent as if he was under the influence of some type of drug early Sunday morning
Detectives are now awaiting autopsy results and toxicology reports to determine the cause of death.