Bellevue’s Homeless Community Reeling After Attack On One of Their Own

Published at Fix Homelessness

Looking at the graphic photos and aftermath of this brutal beatdown is difficult even for the most hardened law enforcement veterans..

“This kind of cruelty is absolutely unacceptable. Investigators, prosecutors, who have seen the worst of the worst in people look at this case and are heartbroken,” says Casey McNerthney, spokesperson for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. 

These photos show 63 year old Eric Larson intubated with a fractured skull, unable to speak, and fighting for his life in the hospital. 

Prosecutors say Larson is homeless and uses a wheelchair. Early Sunday morning at the Bellevue Transit Center in downtown, police say 25 year old Gabriel Vargas-Garcia  assaulted him. 

“This was an unprovoked attack,” says McNerthney. 

Authorities say Vargas-Garcia approached Larson, then unloaded a series of punches and kicks, eventually smashing his head into the concrete numerous times. This ordeal lasted nearly 2 minutes. 

Congregations for the Homeless is the largest men’s shelter on the Eastside. The residents say Larson was a regular here and one of their own.  

“That is just totally uncalled for it gets me furious,” says Elton Parker, who is also staying at the shelter. 

Shelter leaders would not comment on this case for privacy reasons. But Jesse See, who’s also homeless,  says this incident has shaken the community and he will now be taking precautions. 

 “Watch my back more,” says See. 

Vargas-Garcia was eventually arrested a few blocks away. he’s now facing 1st degree attempted murder and assault charges. 

Prosecutors say he’s also a repeat offender, pleading guilty last year to sexual assault of a minor. After serving time for that, he was released from prison just two days before this alleged attack. 

“And less than 48 hours so brutally attack somebody with a level of cruelty that’s hard for a reasonable person to even imagine,” says McNerthney.