POLITICS

Bryan Higgins, Gay San Francisco Man, Dies After Being Beaten In Alleged Hate Crime

08/15/2014 12:09 pm ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016

A gay San Francisco man was taken off life support Aug. 13 after being severely beaten in an alleged hate crime.

Police are investigating the death of Bryan Higgins, 31, as a homicide, according to CBS Bay Area. Higgins, who also went by Feather Lynn and was a member of the gay men's counterculture movement Radical Faeries, had been found unconscious in San Francisco's Duboce Triangle neighborhood on Aug. 10.

Authorities told SFGate that three investigators were working on the case and were searching for an unidentified suspect, described only as a man in his 20s or 30s wearing a gray hoodie.

"Our priority at this point is finding the suspect and the motive for the attack," Officer Albie Esparza, a San Francisco police spokesman, told the publication. "We want people to come forward even if it's anonymous."

Although details remain scarce, the case has sent shockwaves through the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities in both San Francisco and Higgins' native Michigan. A vigil organized by Higgins' husband, Brian Haggerty, and his family was held at Duboce Triangle at exactly 3:33 p.m. on Aug. 13, the moment the victim was taken off of life support.

Meanwhile, a tribute and memorial service was also held at Bronson Park in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

"I can't imagine anyone wanting to hurt him," friend Jimmy Adair told WMMZ 13. "Who ever he came into contact with, he made them feel special, made them feel loved, and just touched your heart."

Steve Horton, identified as Higgins' uncle, released a statement to WMMT, which read:

Bryan "Feather" Lynn Higgins was a very spiritual, kind, caring, loving individual and we are all sad that he has been taken from this earth far to soon.

We appreciate the fact that people want to help and with that we also want to have respect for everyone...Hate crime is horrible...losing someone so special is even worse...so please understand that we want to keep this matter private. We want to thank everyone for their prayers and understanding.

San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener linked Higgins' death to escalating crime in the city's Castro and Upper Market neighborhoods, telling SF Bay: “We get numb about it, because we see so much, but it needs to be addressed consistently. When you allow criminal behavior to go unchecked, it inevitably escalates and leads to violence."

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