Andrew Anthos, whose dream was to light up the Michigan State Capitol dome in red, white and blue, died Friday of injuries sustained in a Feb. 13 hate beating.
Though Anthos, 72, was visiting with friends as recently as Wednesday, his condition declined rapidly in the past two days and he was administered the last rites late Thursday in Detroit Receiving Hospital.
The attack, which left Anthos paralyzed from the neck down and virtually without speech, shocked the gay community, which reached out to his family with love and support -- as well as anger and a resolve for justice.
"There's going to be a great deal more attention now that this, unfortunately, has become a homicide," said Jeffrey Montgomery of Michigan's Triangle Foundation.
"We have worked with prosecutors here for many years, and all the buttons that can be pushed are being pushed right now," Montgomery said.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has offered to pay for Anthos' funeral, Montgomery said.
"So many people want to pay their respects," said Anthos' niece, Athena Federis, adding that she considers the gay and lesbian people who've offered their support "like family."
The gay, biracial Anthos, known to loved ones as "Buddy," had been riding the bus that evening from the public library back to his Detroit apartment when another passenger annoyed with his singing approached him and asked if he was gay.
Anthos left the bus and helped a wheelchair-bound fellow passenger through the snow, only to be followed by the assailant, who hit him in the back of the head with a metal pipe and fled.
The wheelchair-using friend was able to provide some information, Detroit Police Detective Sgt. Ryan Lovier said. But police still seek potential witnesses aboard the bus, which would have arrived at the stop near Detroit's Windsor Towers apartments roughly between 6 and 6:30 p.m. The assailant is described as a light-skinned black man, no more than 23 years old, about 5 foot 7 and 150 pounds, wearing a dark coat and pants, Lovier said.
A big hat tip to A Commonplace Book for catching this one.