(KTXL) — Davis Police said they are investigating the body found at a park on Thursday as a homicide.
All Friday afternoon people have been laying flowers for the victim on what is known as his “Compassion Bench.”
It was 10 years ago this Friday that the bench was installed. The anniversary and the fact that 50-year-old David Henry Breaux died a mere block from where he spread such kindness was devastating for many in the community.
“People are having a hard time reconciling the fact that this person that just exuded compassion — and it was his life’s mission — would die in the most uncompassionate way possible,” Gloria Partida, the chair of the Davis Phoenix Coalition, said.
Davis Police said Breaux’s body was found in Davis’ Central Park with multiple stab wounds.
“His mission was to remind us all to be kind to each other and to stop and think about what compassion was,” Partida said.
The Davis Phoenix Coalition, the nonprofit Partida is the chair for, also focuses on creating a safe and inclusive space. She said Breaux was known as the “compassion guy.”
He would stand on this corner and ask thousands of people what compassion meant to them.
“He wrote everybody’s response in notebooks. He had so many notebooks,” Becky Marigo, with Paul’s Place, said.
Those notebooks would later be compiled into a book.
Marigo and Harmony Scopazzi with Paul’s Place, the Davis Community Meals and Housing, said that Breaux moved into their shelter in 2013 to write it.
“Our kids are in the book, we’re in the book, he included everybody,” Marigo said.
Breaux continued to include the whole community in spreading that message. Marigo said his compassion bench is filled with words people said within those pages.
He also asked the city if the bench could be made of recycled materials.
“We would fill water bottles and stuff it with recycled material until it was really nice and full, and put in a wish, and put it in that bench, so there’s thousands of people in this town that have a wish and a bottle in there,” Marigo said.
Now, the community is laying bouquets of flowers and letters on that same bench, on the 10th anniversary of its installment.
“We all know we have an angel up there,” Marigo said. “He’ll continue to do, what he does: spread love and kindness.”
The Davis Phoenix Coalition is holding a vigil for Breaux there on Sunday at 7:30 p.m.