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A gay senior citizen whose passion was to get the Michigan State capitol dome lit up in red, white, and blue clings to life Thursday after a hate attack.
The attack in Detroit left 72-year-old Andrew Anthos paralyzed from the neck down and virtually without speech.
Anthos, who lives on a disability check, was riding the bus from the public library back to his apartment February 13 when another male passenger approached him and asked if he was gay Anthos's niece Athena Fedenis told Gay.com. Anthos left the bus only to be followed by the man, who hit him in the back of the head with a metal pipe, then fled.
Detroit police are investigating, as is the Triangle Foundation, but were hampered partly because Anthos arrived at the hospital unable to speak and needing emergency surgery. A fellow passenger, an acquaintance of Anthos's who uses a wheelchair, was able to give police a description of the attacker.
Anthos was unconscious Thursday at Detroit Receiving Hospital.
"This is a hate crime against someone who never had a bad thought against anybody," a sobbing Fedenis said Thursday at his bedside. "He sang angelically, he spoke eloquently, he didn't care what anyone said about Detroit--he thought it was a great place to live."
Anthos, a die-hard patriot and Ava Gardner fan, is known in Michigan for his years-long campaign to illuminate the dome of the state capitol for one night each year in red, white, and blue lights.
"It would show a sign of Michigan's patriotism and its loyalty," Anthos told The State News, a Michigan State University paper, in 2003. "It's simply a beacon--a light of color--to lift spirits and encourage us through times like now."
State officials at the time offered moral support but little action, citing a cost "probably...in the six figures," Michigan Capitol Committee chief Jerry Lawler told the News.
Now, said Fedenis, Anthos "made me promise to work on his behalf" for the lighting project.
The assailant is described as a light-skinned black man, no more than 23 years old, about 5 foot 7 and 150 pounds, wearing a dark coat and pants. (Barbara Wilcox, The Advocate)