Austin police are asking for the public’s help in solving a fatal downtown assault last month.
Sgt. Brian Miller said Monday that no cameras captured the incident and that there was only one witness to the Sept. 20 attack that killed 42-year-old Brian Pentecost.
The witness, who was walking along the same street, told police that a man struck Pentecost, who fell to the ground in front of the Suite 101 Club at 101 W. Fifth St. shortly before midnight.
“Mr. Pentecost was standing out in front of Suite 101 when he was approached by an unknown white male and assaulted,” Miller said. “Following the assault, the suspect fled the scene.”
Police were called at 11:48 p.m. and Pentecost was taken to University Medical Center Brackenridge, where he died nine days later, officials said.
Miller said it is unusual for police not to have more witnesses to an incident that took place at a busy time in the downtown entertainment district.
Police do not believe the attack is linked to the Sept. 14 assault of Ole Miss student Carson Otter near the intersection of Trinity and Seventh streets. Otter underwent emergency brain surgery and is recovering in his native Indiana. No arrests have been made in the case.
The Travis County medical examiner’s office ruled Pentecost’s death a homicide by way of blunt force trauma. Police say the injuries appear consistent with someone who was struck with a closed fist, Miller said Monday.
Pentecost was homeless, but police said they do not believe the person who hit him is homeless or knew Pentecost, Miller said.
His father, 67-year-old Roger Pentecost, who lives outside Huntsville, Ala., told the American-Statesman his son encountered some significant life challenges, but was a kind and generous person who was loved by his family.
The father said Brian Pentecost was born and raised in Huntsville and moved to Galveston several years ago. He had been living in Austin for about the past two years as a transient, he said.
“We were always afraid something would happen to him. We thought it would be a stroke, or heart attack or walking in front of a moving vehicle, but not murder,” Roger Pentecost said.
Brian Pentecost hadn’t been home in a while, but he did speak often with his father on the phone, Roger Pentecost said.
The father, a former police officer, said he came to visit his son in the hospital, along with Brian Pentecost’s mother and sister. Doctors told the family the brain injury would leave him unable to talk, walk or eat on his own again.
During their visit in Austin, family members met his friends, who said he once gave his coat to someone on the street.
“He was a human being, murdered in a horrific manner,” he said. “I know how easy it is to overlook the homeless. … But he wasn’t garbage, he shouldn’t have been murdered in the streets.”
Anyone with information is act to call the department’s homicide tip line at 512-477-3588 or Crime Stoppers at 512-472-8477.