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Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Vigil held for Bryan Stow

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- A crowd of supporters, some dressed in Los Angeles Dodgers attire, held a candlelight prayer vigil Wednesday night outside the hospital where a San Francisco Giants fan was taken after he was savagely beaten in a Dodger Stadium parking lot.

Faith leaders, community activists and residents joined the family of Bryan Stow for an emotional vigil that included prayers and moments of silence.

Stow, a 42-year-old paramedic and father of two from Santa Cruz, was punched in the back of the head by two assailants wearing Dodgers gear and fell to the pavement after the Dodgers' 2-1 victory over the Giants in the March 31 season opener.

Stow remained in a medically induced coma at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center. He suffered a severe skull fracture and bad bruising to his brain's frontal lobes. Doctors removed the left side of his skull to relieve pressure on his swollen brain.

Dodgers fan Jennifer Hernandez attended the season opener, but did not witness the attack. Hernandez said she wanted to show her support for Stow and to counter perceptions raging on Internet message boards about Dodgers fans.

"It's disgusting what happened," said the 33-year-old Los Angeles resident. "It only takes a couple of bad apples to ruin the whole scene."

Stow's family cried and held on to one another when the John Lennon song "Imagine" blasted out of loudspeakers. Sniffles were heard in the crowd.

Police have been following up on dozens of leads since releasing composite sketches of the two suspects and urged witnesses to come forward. A $100,000 reward including contributions from the Dodgers and Giants is offered for information leading to the arrests of the attackers.

"If you're man enough to attack someone from behind, at least you should be man enough to face the consequences of your actions," first cousin John Stow said after the vigil.

The incident prompted the Dodgers to hire former Los Angeles police chief William Bratton to assess the team's security policies. Bratton, who quit the police chief job in 2009 to go work for a security consulting firm, will help the club develop a security blueprint that extends to both the stadium and its parking lots.

"There's no question that people ought to be able to go to a game, a Dodger game or any game, with their families and not be terrorized in the way this individual was," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said earlier in the day.

The vigil was organized by The Wall-Las Memorias Project, which helps Latinos with HIV and AIDS. The group is urging the public to combat violence and alcohol abuse among young adults.

"It's only a baseball game," said Richard Zaldivar, the project's executive director.

The Giants will dedicate Friday's home opener at AT&T Park to Stow and pay tribute to the injured man in a special ceremony before the game.