Homicide investigation underway after Comstock native dies in Calif.

Updated: Friday, August 15, 2014
Homicide investigation underway after Comstock native dies in Calif. story image

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A homicide investigation is underway after a West Michigan native, who was beaten and was found unconscious in San Francisco, has died.

31-year-old Bryan Higgins, an active member in San Francisco's gay community, was taken off of life support Wednesday afternoon.

Higgins--originally of Comstock Township--was found early Sunday morning on the sidewalk in a San Francisco neighborhood.

Police say surveillance video revealed Higgins had been attacked.

Thursday, Higgins' sister-in-law reached out to Newschannel 3, and said that in light of some of the negativity surrounding his death, she wanted to share some positive news.

Higgins is an organ donor, and she says all of his organs will be donated to those in need.

She says that's just a testament to who he was.

People in two cities--thousands of miles apart--are mourning the loss Thursday, and still waiting for answers.

At 3:33 Wednesday afternoon local time, Higgins was removed from life support at San Francisco General Hospital, three days after he was found unconscious in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood.

"We just want him to be remembered for the type of person he was," his sister Alanna Higgins told Newschannel 3. "He was very loving and very caring; he was an all-around good human being."

Wednesday evening, family and friends came together to celebrate his life in Kalamazoo and San Francisco.

"It's heartbreaking, and it's even more serious and it hits home on a different level when it's someone that was connected to a community," said Jay Maddock, with the Kalamazoo Gay and Lesbian Resource Center.

Friends tell Newschannel 3 that Higgins--who was also called 'Feather'--was a big part of the radical faerie community for gay men.

Maddock says while police have not yet established a motive, the statistics speak for themselves.

"What we do know are that the LGBT community are victims of crime at a higher rate than non-LGBT folks," Maddock said.

Back in 2006, Castro Community on Patrol was formed, following several assaults in the same neighborhood where Higgins was attacked.

While the neighborhood watch group says it can't prevent all crime, it won't stop fighting for justice.

"How could you be so cruel, how could you do that to somebody that never hurt anybody, never took anything from anybody," Alanna asked.

San Francisco Police say the case has been turned over to homicide investigators.

While they don't have a suspect at this time, they say they are following up on several leads.

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