Mourned by Partner and Sister
(RIP: Richard Sprague. Family courtesy photo, via the SF Ex.)
When my partner and I first heard about the death of an adult on the notoriously troubled stretch of Julian Street close to 15th in the Mission, we were sorry and wondered why the hell neighbors ignored his screams for help.
It's sickening that after years of assorted crimes the block is dark from low-level street lighting, with rows of thick, leafy green trees blocking illumination from lights of apartment buildings and St. John's Church and garden.
An idea for city leaders to consider to bring safety to Julian and 15th. Install better street lighting and seriously trim the trees. Get some visibility there that might prevent future crimes and maybe even another murder.
Those issues aside, I wish to point out that the San Francisco Examiner's Ari Burack today reported the dead man, Richard Sprague, was gay. So far, the known facts suggest he was not killed because of bias against gays.
No matter the prism through which I look at this case, it's a tragic loss of life. From the Ex:
Richard Sprague was a peaceful, loving and selfless man who was simply trying to buy a pack of cigarettes before he was left to die on a Mission district side street early on a recent weekend morning.
Sprague’s partner and also his sister, who are both still trying to come to grips with the callous killing Feb. 19, spoke Sunday with The San Francisco Examiner.
“He truly was the most caring person I have ever known,” said David Nielsen, 59, Sprague’s partner of 20 years. “He’s not the kind of person that would want a fight.”
The couple lived together on Oakwood Street near Dolores Park, just blocks from where Sprague, 47, was found dead on Julian Avenue.
Residents of Julian Avenue near 15th Street reported hearing a man cry for help — but it was not until some five hours later, after one neighbor discovered Sprague’s body on the sidewalk, that police were called. Neighbors later said they regretted not calling 911 immediately. The block is a known haven for drinking and drug use . . .
Sprague’s sister, Gayle Takashima of Seattle, remembered her brother Sunday as a loving person [and] said her brother had dealt with hardships before, such as when he was hit by a truck while walking in a crosswalk and was severely injured several years ago in San Francisco . . .
“Rick was one of the sweetest, kindest, gentlest people you could ever meet,” she said. “He was proud of who he was, and loved life fiercely.”