UPDATE: Clayton Daniel Garzon, 19, of Davis, was arrested Thursday morning on suspicion of assault causing great bodily injury, committing a hate crime, assault with a deadly weapon, stalking, committing a felony while on release from custody and inflicting bodily injury during the commission of a felony, Davis police Lt. Glenn Glasgow said.
Davis police confirmed Wednesday they’ve identified a suspect in Sunday’s brutal beating of a 31-year-old gay man, though they have yet to make an arrest in the case that’s being investigated as a hate crime.
“We do have a suspect in mind, and there could be criminal charges pending,” Lt. Glenn Glasgow said. He added that the Police Department “takes allegations of hate crimes seriously” and has had a detective assigned full-time to the case since Sunday, the day of the beating.
Meanwhile, family and friends of longtime Davis resident Lawrence “Mikey” Partida have taken to social media to spread word about the incident and raise money to cover the costs of his recovery.
Partida, a 2000 graduate of Davis High School and employee at the Davis Food Co-op, was assaulted shortly before 4 a.m. Sunday outside a residence in the 300 block of I Street.
According to a Facebook page titled “Mikey’s Justice Fund,” established this week in response to the incident, Partida had left his keys at a cousin’s apartment and was on his way to retrieve them “when a man began kicking and beating him while yelling homophobic slurs.”
Officers and ambulance personnel arrived to find Partida unconscious in the front yard of the I Street home, where a party had been taking place, police said. A second man on scene had sustained minor injuries but refused medical aid.
Partida was transported to the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento with major injuries that included a fractured skull, bleeding to his brain, broken facial bones and a large laceration to the back of his head, according to the Facebook page.
Partida’s mother, Gloria Partida, told The Enterprise that while her son is showing signs of improvement, holding conversations for the first time on Wednesday, he may have to be transferred to a skilled nursing facility to continue his recovery.
“He’s actually mending very quickly, which is encouraging,” Gloria Partida said in a phone interview Wednesday evening. But Partida is also having difficulty with motor skills, though it’s unclear whether that is due to his injuries or to the medications he’s been taking at the hospital.
Friends and relatives have expressed shock and anger that Partida was attacked in Davis, where he has lived since he was in the first grade and felt he was safe from intolerance.
“I was very heartbroken that he of all people would be targeted,” Gloria Partida said. “He’s not obnoxious, he’s not aggressive, he’s not anything that anyone would want to hurt.
“It certainly has rattled him, and he’s got a lot of anxiety,” Gloria Partida added about her son, a cross-country runner since high school who takes frequent runs around Davis. “He has questioned, where am I going to run now?”
Glasgow, the Davis police lieutenant, remained tight-lipped Wednesday about the details of the investigation, citing its ongoing nature and his agency’s reluctance to taint any witnesses who might come forward with additional information.
“We don’t really have a whole lot more information that we can release without jeopardizing the investigation,” Glasgow said.
As for the second man who was found injured at the scene, Glasgow said only that he was “involved in the incident,” but wouldn’t specify whether he was a victim or a possible assailant.
However, “based on the progress of the case, all of the involved parties and their roles will become clearer,” Glasgow said.
Anyone with further information about this incident is urged to contact the Davis Police Department at 530-747-5400.
Gloria Partida said she has been overwhelmed by the response to the Facebook page, which as of Wednesday had generated nearly 1,200 “likes” in addition to dozens of supportive posts. It includes a link to a PayPal account set up to collect donations toward Partida’s care.
The Davis Food Co-op, where Partida has worked as a clerk for the past six years, has pledged to match the first $1,000 donated.
Meanwhile, news of Partida’s plight has spread well beyond Davis. On the Davis Food Co-op’s Facebook page, a manager of the Common Ground Food Co-op in Champaign, Ill., posted that her staff is gathering donations for Partida “as you struggle to make sense of this and support your friend and co-worker.”
— Reach Lauren Keene at email@example.com or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene
Lawrence “Mikey” Partida wears a neck brace as he recovers from injuries suffered in a beating early Sunday morning on I Street. Police are treating the beating as a hate crime. Courtesy photo
Lawrence “Mikey” Partida, 31, of Davis. Courtesy photo