It’s hard for Veronica Humphreys to explain how the loss of her younger brother has impacted her life. The grief never ceases, she said, and normal activities like eating and sleeping have become a rarity.
“Every time I close my eyes I see his face and think, ‘Why did this happen?’” she said. “The rest of my life will be changed forever, I will never have my brother back.”
The death of Josiah Humphreys, a 2003 Jesuit High School graduate, has shaken and outraged the community. The 28-year-old died early St. Patrick’s Day morning on his way home from a bar. He was found lying in the grass on the corner of P and 18th streets, not far from his Midtown home on P Street. He died of traumatic head injuries after a fight broke out between Josiah Humphreys and three men, who have yet to be located or identified.
A vigil held Monday night saw an outpouring of nearly 100 friends, family members and community members. A memorial of flowers, photos and notes is anchored around a street lamp in Josiah Humprey’s memory.
“It’s so raw and emotional and it’s so hard, it’s something you never expect to happen to you,” Veronica Humphreys said. “Everyone is so distraught. How could this happen, how could people just sit by and watch?”
When Samantha Cypret heard the news Sunday morning of Josiah Humphrey’s fatal beating, she didn’t know what to do or say.
She met Josiah when he was 10 or 11, through his older sister Veronica, and became close with their family. So when the Humphreys family lost its middle child, Cypret decided that she needed to do something to help.
In the span of a day, she created a simple website, "Justice for Josiah," and set up a donation fund to pool reward money. She wants to keep his story alive.
"No amount of tears will bring him back, but hopefully through our actions, be it through the website or canvassing or keeping his story prevalent, we’ll be able to hold the people accountable for their actions," Cypret said.
Debi Quick, who knew Josiah Humphreys through his work at a property management company, was in tears when she described his brief but powerful impact on her life.
“He was just an awesome, awesome kid,” she said. “Everybody that he met, everyone in our complex, we’ve all been talking about it, and they all said the same thing – It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.”
"I’m just praying to god that someone has a conscious out there," Quick said. "Just give someone the strength and courage to bring forth a name – something – don’t let him die in vain."
The donation fund started for information that leads to an arrest has garnered more than $2,500 since going live Tuesday night, Veronica Humphreys said. A memorial service has been planned for Friday in Roseville, at Bayside Church in room B120; the church is at 8191 Sierra College Boulevard.
"We’ve been overwhelmed with how much people have donated and are reaching out, it’s been really shocking," Cypret said. "People who have never met Josiah heard the story and were so outraged by it, they wanted to do something. It’s been really touching."
Veronica Humphreys hopes that through the community’s support and involvement, people won’t look the other way when they see acts of violence. “People can’t go around killing people,” she said. “It’s not OK for someone to take someone else’s life, that’s not theirs to take.”
Cypret said the past few days have been crazy, and the thought of the killers potentially committing another violent act makes her stomach turn.
"This has been just earth shattering, especially something so violent and so senseless," Cypret said. "There’s just no way to wrap your head around what’s happened. Now you have to turn to action and hold people accountable, and find a tiny amount of positivity that can come out of a situation like this."