Photo credit: Facebook
SAN DIEGO — A candlelight vigil will be held tonight at Scripps Mercy Hospital in response to a vicious attack on Jason “Cowboy” Huggins, 31, who suffered severe brain damage as a result of the beating.
The vigil will be held at 8 pm in front of the hospital, next to the rose garden fountain.
Brian Slater, a community member and LGBT activist, said in an email that Huggins was “brutally beaten” last Wednesday, and as of today is in critical condition and is not expected to survive.
Channel 8 News reports that 37-year-old Joshua Larson was arrested Friday around 6:15 pm in connection with the attack. Police say Larson is suspected of bludgeoning Huggins with a rock in a canyon near the 1300 block of Washington Street.
Larson was booked at San Diego County Jail on suspicion of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, San Diego Police Department Lt. Ernie Herbert told Channel 8.
After the attack, Huggins came up out of the canyon, flagged down a passing motorist, and was only able to tell to the driver that he had been hit in the head with a rock, Herbert said.
“The preliminary investigation has revealed the victim was [attacked] during an altercation with someone known to him, but it is not known what the altercation was about or who the other person is,” Herbert told Channel 8.
Justin Newman, who has posted an invitation to the vigil on Facebook, hopes that community members will come out tonight and stand with him in support of Jason and his family. “No one deserves what has happened to Jason,” wrote Newman.
“We need a show of support from the community,” wrote Slater, who has been spreading the word about tonight’s vigil via e-mail and social media. “This is tragic and happened in our own backyard. We cannot let this go unanswered.”
Friends have posted messages of support for Huggins on his Facebook page since news of the attack spread.
“Cowboy I am sending prayers out for [you],” posted George Pimpy Childs. “[You] have been such a good friend to me words can’t express what your friendship means to me. Love you man.”
Sister Bianca Tempt posted a photo of a lit candle and wrote “This candle has been lit for many … and now lights your way.”
Those who wish to attend tonight’s vigil should gather at 8 pm and bring a candle.
“We are going to light up the rose garden,” wrote Newman. “Flame on!”
Scripps Mercy Hospital is located at 4077 Fifth Avenue in Hillcrest.