Friends come out to support assault victimAround the City Thursday, June 30th, 2011
About 50 friends of Jason “Cowboy” Huggins held a quiet candlelight vigil at Scripps Mercy Hospital Tuesday, where Huggins remained in critical condition after a brutal assault the week before.
“We are here to show him and his family that we care,” said Justin Newman, a close friend of Huggins and organizer of the vigil. Members of Huggins’ family had arrived from his hometown in Tennessee, but did not attend the vigil.
A resident of San Diego for about eight years, Huggins, 31, is currently homeless and was living in a canyon near the 1300 block of Washington Street, according to Newman and a San Diego Police investigation. At about 6:15 p.m. on June 22, Huggins was hit in the head with a rock during an altercation in that canyon, according to the investigation.
Huggins was able to walk out of the canyon and flag down a passing motorist for assistance. Paramedics responded and transported him to Scripps Mercy Hospital. Since being admitted, his condition has deteriorated, according to police reports, and his injury continues to be life threatening. A hospital spokeswoman could only confirm his condition remained “critical” prior to Tuesday’s vigil.
“Cowboy is a very caring and loving guy. He’s the type of guy that would give you the shirt off his back,” Newman said. “A lot of the times, that kindness got him into trouble.” Huggins never liked to be called Jason, Newman said; his friends always called him “Cowboy” because he always wore his trademark cowboy hat, boots and big belt buckle.
After an investigation, San Diego Police Homicide Unit detectives identified the alleged assailant as Joshua Larson, 37, of San Diego. Larson was arrested Friday, June 24, and was booked into San Diego County Jail for attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon.
Lieutenant Ernie Herbert of the Homicide Unit said their investigation did uncover a motive, but could not release that information until Larson’s arraignment. Herbert did confirm the assault is not being considered a hate crime.
Newman and other friends are accepting donations for help to offset travel expenses for Huggins’ family. To make a contribution, contact Newman at email@example.com or 619-800-2105. Newman is also planning fundraising events.
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