Vigil held for elderly newspaper vendor killed in SF attack


Dallas Ayers, 77, was thrown to the ground by another man Jan. 28 near Market and Post streets. He was taken to a hospital and succumbed to his injuries Feb. 21, police and medical examiner's officials said.

The Archdiocese of San Francisco, which began holding vigils for each of the city's murder victims starting in October, lit candles, prayed and sang outside the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper stand where Ayers worked inside the Montgomery BART and Municipal Railway station.

"It was really sad," said Julio Escobar, coordinator of the archdiocese's restorative justice programs and organizer of the vigils. "He was a hard-working man."

The man who has taken over Ayers' job selling the newspapers, who said Ayers was his godfather, was overcome with emotion and did not want to talk to reporters after the vigil.

Dave Ellis, a business representative with Teamsters Local 853, the union representing the vendors, said Ayers was "a colorful, friendly character."

Ellis said, "He was one of my favorites because I actually grew up in Dallas and we used to joke about that."

He said when Ayers was injured a couple of years ago, many regular customers signed a card urging him to get well. "He was well-liked by everybody," he said.

Ayers had been working as a newspaper vendor for about 30 years and was on his midday break at the time of the attack, Ellis said.

San Francisco police have not made any arrests in the case.

The suspect was described as a white man in his mid to late 40s who is about 5 feet 8 inches tall with brown hair and was wearing a brown shirt, police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.

Anyone with information about the homicide is asked to call the Police Department's homicide detail at (415) 553-1145, the department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or to send a tip by text message to TIP411 with "SFPD" in the message.

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