DaShawn Horne is making progress, small but significant improvement, as he recovers from an unprovoked brutal beating in January that nearly took his life.
Knowing his nephew faces a long and difficult path to walk and speak again, Rodney King remains upbeat.
He knows no other way.
“He’s coming along. He’s on the road to recovery,” King said at a community barbecue in Federal Way to thank supporters. “They took him out of his bed for occupational therapy (this week), put him in a wheelchair. … He’s on that road.”
Last Saturday’s gathering in the sunshine attracted family and friends who continue to pray for the 26-year-old Auburn man’s recovery. The occasion marked 50 days since Horne has been at Harborview Medical Center, receiving care for a traumatic head injury and other wounds.
The African-American man, a mail handler for the U.S. Postal Service, was severely beaten, allegedly at the hands of an aluminum-baseball-bat-swinging Auburn man, on Jan. 20.
Law enforcement officials have called the beating a hate crime attack.
On Wednesday, March 7, Horne awoke after being in a coma for nearly seven weeks. His eyes, according to the family, track movement, and he wiggles his toes to commands.
Horne is unable to speak, King said, but doctors hope with treatment he soon will be able to talk again.
The outpouring of support was overwhelming and appreciated by the family. LaDonna Horne, who lives in Auburn, recently said that her son is “fighting back. … We are praying for him.”
King said his sister has been by her son’s side each day.
“She cannot feel she can leave him,” King said.
As Horne continues to make progress, the case has made its way to court.
Julian Tuimauga, 18, pleaded not guilty to first-degree assault and malicious harassment, the state’s statute for hate crimes, at his Feb. 5 arraignment in King County Superior Court at Kent’s Maleng Regional Justice Center.
Tuimauga, who is listed as Asian in court documents, is in county jail on $500,000 bail. The trial-setting date was continued to March 29.
The Horne family hopes justice ultimately will be served.
“Racism can’t live here. We don’t accept it. We won’t accept it,” LaDonna Horne said. “We just have to keep on living … and love, love, love, no matter what.”
King added: “It’s time and patience, and let the court system do its job.”
The Horne family has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the cost of DaShawn’s recovery.
T-shirt sales at the barbecue helped raise money for the family.