Tiny pinpricks of light glowed through the bitter, pounding rain on a dark corner of a Grover Beach neighborhood Friday evening.
The candles were held by almost 100 people, who despite the downpour had chosen to gather together and remember a man they call a hero.
David Fear, 64, died Dec. 16 from injuries he sustained three days earlier when he jumped in to protect his elderly neighbor, Betty Long, as she was being attacked by dogs in their Grover Beach neighborhood.
On Thursday, Grover Beach officials said the dogs — a Belgian Malinois and a German shepherd — were owned by Grover Beach police officer Alex Geiger as pets. The Malinois was determined to be the primary aggressor and was euthanized; the other dog remains quarantined while San Luis Obispo County Animal Services completes its investigation and forwards its findings to the county District Attorney’s Office.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Long suffered a broken pelvis and shoulder and is now undergoing rehabilitation to relearn how to walk, relatives said.
On Friday evening, friends, family, neighbors and members of the Grover Beach community huddled under umbrellas and pop-up tents to offer their condolences to Fear’s loved ones. A makeshift tribute to Fear with candles and flowers glowed on the dark street corner near Fear’s home in the 1100 block of Nacimiento Avenue.
“Obviously doing what he did just showed what kind of man he was,” said family friend Rebecca Crawford as she wiped away tears. “He threw his life on the line, and in my eyes he is a hero.”
Crawford described Fear as a man dedicated to giving back and helping the community. She said he was a regular volunteer at their church and with organizations such as The People’s Kitchen.
“He was always there and willing to suit up and do what needed to be done for the needy,” she said. “He was just so loving and good.”