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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A man who was beaten in an alleged hate crime in San Francisco’s Duboce Triangle was taken off life support Wednesday afternoon. Bryan Higgins, 31, who also went by Feather Lynn, was pronounced dead at 3:33 p.m. according to an SF General Hospital spokeswoman.
Higgins was found unconscious Sunday morning in San Francisco’s Duboce Triangle neighborhood. Police are investigating his death as a homicide.
“At this time the family would like to keep private yet we want to express our extreme gratitude for the kindness and support,” Higgin’s uncle Steve Horton said in a statement on Wednesday. “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 too soon.”
Higgins’ family, including his husband since last year, Brian Haggerty, and friends held a vigil in his honor at 3:33 p.m.; the exact time family had said they would be removing him from life support.
Hundreds of mourners at Duboce Park, near Duboce Avenue and Noe Street stood in a massive circle that covered nearly half the park as Higgins was pronounced dead. They stood silently except for the sounds of occasional sobs, children playing at a nearby playground and the warm breeze filling the trees.
The grief of some mourners was so pronounced they were barely able to stand, and had to be supported by the arms of friends standing at each side.
A tent was erected on top of a large rainbow flag lying in the center of the circle where mourners left flowers and other gifts. The smell of burning sage filled the air.
Higgins described himself on his Facebook profile as a “starving artist” who worked at Rosenburg Delicatessen at 276 Noe St., only a few blocks from where he was found.
Higgins, with roots in Kalamazoo County, Michigan, was part of a community called the Radical Faeries. It’s described as a group of gay men looking for a spiritual dimension to their sexuality, according to CBS station NEWESCHANNEL 3.
Higgins and Hagerty were married in December after meeting in Michigan, where they both grew up, when they were both 17 years old. They moved to San Francisco together and were married at City Hall, Hagerty wrote on Facebook.
New evidence presented to San Francisco police indicate that Higgins was assaulted before he was found on the ground at about 7:30 a.m. Sunday near the corner of Duboce Avenue and Church Street, San Francisco police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.
“Hate crime is horrible,” Horton said. “Losing someone so special is even worse.”
Higgins was taken to San Francisco General Hospital Sunday with critical injuries and had no wallet or ID with him, hospital spokeswoman Rachael Kagan said.
He remained unidentified until Monday afternoon, when a neighbor recognized him in media reports and contacted his family, who went to the hospital, Kagan said.
Esparza said police are seeking a suspect in Higgins’ beating death and assault with a deadly weapon.
The suspect was described only as a white man in his 20s or 30s wearing a gray sweater.
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