Some more details have come to light via eyewitness testimony in the attack on, and ultimate death, of 31-year-old Bryan "Feather Lynn" Higgins near Church and Duboce Streets on August 10. And the story is not one of an entirely unprovoked attack, but one in which Higgins was acting erratically that early morning, harassing people in line for free breakfast at St. Francis Lutheran Church (152 Church Street), and ultimately getting into a confrontation with the previously reported suspect in the dark jacket/hoodie.
The Bay Area Reporter got the account from a witness, 44-year-old John Stone, who was in line for breakfast along with the still unidentified suspect.
Stone's account is as follows:
Stone said he saw a man he later learned was Higgins "acting really off the wall."
He said Higgins, who lived a couple blocks away, was "confronting people" who were in line for breakfast and "making a lot of noise." He was saying things to the effect of, "I am every gender and no gender," and he'd also spilled a couple people's coffee, Stone said. Others asked Higgins to calm down, but he refused.
Eventually, a man who was in the line appeared to be "pretty well fed up" and started "having some words" with Higgins, Stone said. They moved away from the rest of the crowd, and Stone heard the man say something about Higgins "fucking with everybody," but Stone hung back and couldn't hear much of what the men said to each other.
He remembers thinking he was "pretty sure this guy is about to get his ass kicked if he doesn't back up and leave," he said.
The men walked up Church Street, with Higgins walking backward, "still up in the guy's face," Stone said. They made their way up to the concrete island in the middle of the street, then crossed over back on to the sidewalk, in front of the Out of the Closet thrift shop at 100 Church, he said.
Stone said the man, who had been wearing "a dark jacket," took it off to reveal a red hoodie.
He said he the man threw "a couple of punches," and "I thought I saw a couple of kicks." The man punched Higgins "above the waist," but Stone seemed unsure of exactly where. "It wasn't his face," he said.
Higgins ended up laying on the sidewalk, and the man put back on his jacket and returned to the breakfast line, saying, "Well, we won't hear any more of that for one morning," Stone said.
Stone himself said he went up the street to check on Higgins' condition, and said there was no blood but he was lying on the sidewalk with his eyes wide open. He had no discernible pulse, and emergency responders around 7:30 a.m. that morning seemed like they had difficulty resuscitating him.
The dashboard camera footage of the suspect, it sounds like, did include images of Higgins in his last conscious moments, getting shoved across the street toward Out of the Closet by the suspect. The image of Higgins, however, was blacked out in the version released by the SFPD.
The suspect apparently did not use homophobic slurs in the course of his confrontation with Higgins, but did so after knocking Higgins down and getting back in the breakfast line, calling him a "faggot," according to Stone.
Though drugs are not being discussed by friends or witnesses, one friend and neighbor of Higgins, 50-year-old Brian Busta, said that multiple people were aware of Higgins's troubling behavior the previous night and that early morning, saying he was suffering from "medical issues" but that they were unable to get him admitted to SF General. Police were called twice that previous night about Higgins, who Busta says was "getting too out of hand" and "running around like a cat in a cage."
Higgins, known as Feather to friends and fellow Radical Faeries, was ultimately taken to SF General after the attack, remaining in a coma, and his family decided to end life support three days later. At least a hundred friends came together to mourn him the same day in Duboce Park.
Though these multiple witnesses gave accounts of the attack and described Higgins's attacker, he has not yet been identified or found. Stone says that he had never seen the man in the breakfast line at St. Francis Lutheran before.
If you have any information to offer police, you should call 415-575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411 with 'SFPD' at the start of the message.