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SAN DIEGO -- To commemorate the 20 years that have passed since a local teenager was killed in Hillcrest because he was perceived to be gay, a local organization will host a small ceremony called "San Diego Remembers John Wear" on Tuesday, Dec. 13.
Reports say that the 17-year-old Wear was walking down Essex Street in Hillcrest with a groups of friends on the evening of Dec. 13, 1991, when they became victims of a hate-motivated attack.
Wear died two days later as a result of injuries sustained by the attack.
Eddie Barton, a carpenter from North Park, was sentenced to 21 years to life in prison on June 27, 1996. The California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation confirms that Barton, now 44, is still incarcerated in the Avenal State Prison, where he was admitted on Sept. 8, 1993.
After the incident, the LGBT community and other Hillcrest leaders rallied to speak out against a rash of attacks that had been reported in the area over the past year. Community members organized a candelight march, meetings with police, and put together the first volunteer citizens patrol in the area with the assistance of then-City Councilmember John Hartley.
A few months later, a plaque was placed on the sidewalk in front of Obelisk bookstore to commemorate the incident, which reads:
This hate crime memorial plaque is dedicated in memory of 17-year-old John Robert Wear and other victims of hate crimes.
On December 13, 1991, three men brutally attacked a group of friends as they walked down University Avenue. This incident was considered a hate crime because the perpetrators called out "faggots" as they pursued. One of the youth, John Wear, was fatally stabbed.
Citizens of this community are dedicated to ending hatred and violence in our streets.
San Diego Remembers was formed in 2008 to commemorate the 10 years that had passed since the death of Matthew Shepard, who was killed in a brutal anti-gay attack in October 1998. The group has organized a march and ceremony each year since, to remember Shepard's life, along with all others who have lost their lives to hate motivated crimes.
Community members are encouraged to gather at the plaque at 6:30 pm for a brief ceremony and candlelight vigil hosted by members of the organization. Participants should bring their own candles.
Those who are unable to attend the ceremony are encouraged to visit the plaque throughout the day or evening for a moment of reflection. The event will take place rain or shine.
For more information click HERE or call (619) 316-9197.