Gay Seattle Hairdresser Beaten to Death for His Cellphone
58-year-old hairdresser Danny Vega has passed away after being beaten so severely by three teens in Seattle’s Rainier Valley neighborhood that he fell into a coma for two weeks.
Vega was only four blocks from home, where he also ran Danny Vega’s Hair Design when he was attacked and robbed of his cellphone and keys. All three assailants remain at large.
Vega’s family has said they believed Vega, who was gay, may have been targeted because of his sexual orientation. Seattle police are not investigating the incident as a hate crime, citing a lack of evidence.
Real talk, I’ve been in Wichita with my partner’s family for the past week celebrating Thanksgiving, and this news hardly fills me with excitement to return home to Seattle tomorrow.
I didn’t know Danny myself, but from the number of our mutual friends mourning him today, I can tell that he was a beloved man who will be dearly missed.
Seattle has been home to some incredibly ugly violence this year, and much of it has been attributed to our state lawmakers slashing budgets to ribbons. Programs that provided care to the mentally ill and homeless have been decimated, and our state education fund has been all but emptied. It’s no longer a surprise to hear news of a deranged man murdering a passerby with a hatched after his counseling program was cancelled, nor is news of teenagers who have been robbed of critical assistance programs robbing someone unheard of.
I’m not in any way condoning the murder of Danny Vega. But I can’t help but see a correlation emerging in my home state and city. Certainly not helping matters are repeated incidents of terrible police brutality upon compliant teenagers (with no punishment for the offending officer), minorities, and even pregnant women. Hell, the federal Justice Department has been brought into town to investigate the violent example being set by the Seattle Police Department.
So while nightmarish incidents like the murder of a prominent gay local are of course devastating, they are hardly surprising anymore.
Our condolences go out to all of Danny’s loved ones. Let’s hope his murderers are brought to justice soon.