Police in Atlanta, Georgia, are investigating after a gay Asian man was found clinging to life on train tracks with a serious head injury.
Local news outlet CBS46 reported Joshua Dowd, 28, was found unconscious and barely breathing on train tracks near Piedmont and Lakeshore Drive the morning of 11 July. Dowd was found by a passerby walking in the area and was rushed to the hospital with a blunt force injury to his head.
Collin Kelly, Dowd’s partner of more than three years, told CBS46 he had no idea how Dowd ended up in the area.
“I’m in a freefall,” Kelly said. “We don’t have a lot of information to go on.”
He continued: “I don’t know how he got there. It’s not an area he would typically be in.”
Kelly told the news outlet that Dowd went out with friends in Midtown Saturday (10 July) night. He explained that, at some point in the evening, Dowd was separated from the group.
Kelly added that he hoped “we get answers” soon because “someone hurt him”.
“He’s fighting very hard for his life right now, but someone hurt him, and it’s very severe,” Kelly told CBS46.
He told WSB-TV that he didn’t believe the attack was linked to a robbery because Dowd “still had his phone and debit card on him”. Family and friends of Dowd said they believed the openly gay man’s sexual orientation and race may have played a role in the brutal attack.
Joshua Dowd left a ‘mark everywhere he went’, said friends.
Dowd’s friends started a GoFundMe page to help with their loved one’s medical bills. The GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $82,000 in the five days since it was created.
According to the campaign, Dowd was “left for dead on a railroad track in Atlanta” before he was transported to the hospital. It said Dowd has received brain surgery but is still “currently fighting for his life”. His friends added that doctors are unsure “what the outcome will be” for Dowd’s recovery.
They described the gay man as “kind”, “caring” and “spirited” as well as a huge fan of Ariana Grande.
“Joshua is the type of person who leaves a mark everywhere he goes, and none of us want to ever imagine a life without him,” the page stated.
In the most recent update to the fund, the friends said Dowd has “begun to respond more appropriately to stimulation, is now breathing in by himself” and “has even begun looking around and even blinking”.
Activists participate in a vigil in response to the Atlanta spa shootings 17 March 2021 in the Chinatown area of Washington, DC. A gunman opened fire in three spas in the Atlanta, Georgia area, the day before killing eight people, including six women of Asian descent. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Anti-Asian hate crimes have surged in the last year across the US
Reported hate crimes against Asian people in the US’ largest cities and counties are up 164 per cent compared to the same period in 2020, according to a study by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State University San Bernardino.
Researchers identified 95 anti-Asian hate crimes reported to authorities across 16 of the nation’s most populated areas in the first quarter of 2021, compared with 36 reported incidents during the same period of 2020.
New York City saw the largest increase in anti-Asian hate crimes after reporting 42 incidents in the first quarter of 2021. In the first quarter of 2020, there were 13 such incidents. This represented a 223 per cent increase.
Eight people, including six women of Asian descent, were killed at three spas in Georgia on 16 March, sending shockwaves through the Asian-American community. Police arrested Robert Aaron Long – who admitted to the shootings – and he has been charged with the killings.
The eight who were killed in March were identified as Soon Chung Park, age 74; Hyun Jung Grant, age 51; Suncha Kim, age 69; Yong Ae Yue, age 63; Delaina Ashley Yaun, age 33; Paul Andre Michels, age 54; Xiaojie Tan, age 49; and Daoyou Feng, age 44.
Elcias R Hernandez-Ortiz was identified as having been injured in the shootings.