Josiah Humphreys was a big 49ers fan, a closet A’s fan, a video game geek and TV show and movie buff. Friends describe him as warm and welcoming, as someone who they felt an instant connection with, even if it had been months or years since they’d seen one another.
“I can’t stop picturing him in my head, he was always smiling," said Gregg Starr, a friend from high school.
Humphreys, 28, was killed early Sunday morning by a group of three men that beat him to death near his Midtown home on the corner of 18th and P streets. Police have no suspects and are asking for witnesses’ help in the investigation.
On Monday night, more than 100 friends, family members and acquaintances came together at the scene of the crime to honor and memorialize Humphreys. As the crowd grew, so did the memorial, which included pictures, notes, candles, flowers, and a Jesuit High School T-shirt. A cowboy hat with an attached lily was was placed near the top of the light pole, which served as the memorial’s anchor.
At one point, a family member came forward to thank everyone for showing up, and described the loss of Humphreys as devastating.
Many people stood in near silence, holding onto candles and each other, finding support and comfort in their shared loss. A large group of Jesuit graduates eventually circled the memorial and shared stories, laughs and tears over Humphreys, who was described as generous, one to step up and help out, and "everybody’s friend."
One of Humphreys’ closest friends, Matthew Anderson, said the two knew each other over three years and bonded immediately. "We understand each other on a lot of different levels," he said. "It’s disheartening to know someone with such a strong will can be brought down."
Humphreys was not afraid to show his emotions, Anderson said, and was always going to have a fun time regardless of his environment. He described Humphreys as fun, exuberant and boisterous. "He’s stronger than most of us and he’s not afraid to show that," Anderson said.
While Anderson wasn’t with Humphreys the night he was killed, he said a couple of friends had offered Humphreys a ride home, but that Humphreys had turned them down. Those friends are now blaming themselves, and Anderson said he wishes he could have been with his friend that night.
"This is a terrible fate to bring down on someone, especially so close to home," Anderson said. "We shared a lot of moments and it’s been extraordinary in the years I’ve known him."
Anderson said that however many friends he makes, he won’t be able to to forget Humphreys.
"You can’t replace someone like that, who knows you on so many levels," he said. "You can’t find somebody else that is so close to you."