Gay Man Beaten In San Francisco, Removed From Life Support
A San Francisco gay man has died from injuries sustained in what is believed to be a hate crime.
Beaten and left for dead in the Castro District, Bryan Higgins was taken off life support yesterday at San Francisco General Hospital as more than a hundred mourners gathered at a nearby park to hold a silent vigil in his honor.
Police think Higgins, 31, was beaten just after dawn by a white male in his 20s or 30s, wearing a grey or dark hoodie. The suspect fled from the scene on foot. The information comes from surveillance videos gathered from the Duboce Triangle neighborhood.
On his Facebook profile, Bryan Higgins described himself as a “starving artist” who worked at Rosenburg Delicatessen on Noe Street. He came to San Francisco five years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan. He also went by Feather Lynn as part of a pagan group called the Radical Faeries, comprised of gay men devoted to exploring sexual spirituality.
The young gay man was unconscious when he was found at 7:30 am on Sunday morning, near the corner of Duboce Avenue and Church Street.
He sustained a brain aneurysm in the attack which left him on life support.
Initially, the hospital could not identify him; he had no wallet in his pocket. A friend named Brian Busta, seeing media news reports about his case on Monday afternoon, alerted his family, who were able to assist the hospital in identifying their John Doe.
Still in critical condition yesterday morning, Higgins was taken off life support at 3:33 pm and died shortly after. The park vigil was scheduled to occur at the same time.
The ceremony held for him was pagan-ish in nature; more than a hundred people joined hands in a circle and shared silence as sage burned on an altar holding flowers and candles.
Bryan leaves behind a husband and a family; Brian Hagerty, his husband since December, told The San Francisco Bay Guardian:
“Right now, we are just concerned with his spirit, and making sure everyone has a chance to say goodbye.”
Higgins’ uncle, Steve Horton, also stated:
“We want to express our extreme gratitude for the kindness and support. Bryan… was a very spiritual, kind, caring, loving individual and we are all sad that he has been taken from this earth far too soon.”
His death is now being investigating as a homicide. Anyone with information can contact the SFPD at 415-575-4444 or text TIP411 with “SFPD” at the start of the message.
Officer Albie Esparza of the San Francisco police has revealed that there are three investigators working on Bryan’s case. He explained:
“Our priority at this point is finding the suspect and the motive for the attack. We want people to come forward even if it’s anonymous.”
Violent crime in the Castro District neighborhood has been on the upswing in recent years, particularly in the area where Bryan was found. Hate crimes in other countries against gay men and women have been recorded and pursued previously, resulting in arrests and convictions that aim to protect the LGBTQ community from such violence.
[Image Courtesy of Facebook]