The leader and co-founder of Fairness Fort Worth, a major Texan LGBT rights group, has been found dead, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that the body of Thomas Anable, 59, was found in a downtown park last weekend after the police received a call.

Mr Anable had helped found the group after a raid on one of the city’s gay bars, the Rainbow Lounge, in 2009, during which members of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and Fort Worth police arrested customers for “public intoxication” and police claimed that patrons made sexual passes at them.

The raid captured national attention – not least because it took place on the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City, which arguably gave birth to the modern LGBT rights movement.

Following the negative publicity the raid garnered, Fort Worth police later apologised and made a concerted effort to reach out to the local LGBT community.

Mr Anable had been the body’s president since 2010. In June, he worked alongside police in Arlington, Texas, investigating of a group of teenagers suspected of targeting LGBT people by leaving homophobic graffiti on their cars and houses.

David Mack Henderson, treasurer of Fairness Fort Worth, said: “His leadership and tireless advocacy became a shining example for others who strive to make their corner of the world a better place.

“Between the amazing advances that he successfully championed and those who were inspired by him to forge ahead on similar paths Tom leaves a legacy that will burn bright for ages to come.”

The Dallas Voice reported that the Rainbow Lounge would host a candlelight vigil in Mr Anable’s honor tonight.