Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

Man dies after apparent assault


Chad Ferreira died Saturday after an alleged assault.
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Club Papi owner Jamie Awad used to kid his good friend and former employee, Chad Ferreira, 27, that it was a good thing that he was gay.

"He didn't have the easiest life," Awad said. "He grew up around a lot of gangs in San Jose."

Awad explained that because gangs are generally very homophobic, that might have kept Ferreira from being a gang member himself. Instead of hanging with a gang, Ferreira devoted his time to work, school, family, friends, and his passion for kickboxing.

But Awad may best remember his friend for a seemingly routine encounter he had with him on Thursday night, January 26, in front of the Cafe nightclub in the Castro.

"He hugged and kissed me," Awad said. "'See you later,' he said. 'See you next month for Club Papi.'"

But there would be no next month for Ferreira. His life was taken away three days later, just steps from where he said goodbye to Awad.

Stanley Van Tassel, unlike Awad, never knew Ferreira. But he will also never forget him.

About 2 a.m. Monday morning, January 30, Van Tassel was driving along Market Street, just past Castro Street, heading toward downtown. He said he saw what looked like two men "jumping" another one in front of the Rolo store near the Cafe. One man, the taller of the two, allegedly knocked Ferreira to the curb, nearly in front of his car, Van Tassel said. Van Tassel pulled over, ran out of his car, and held Ferreira as others began to gather around.

What happened next stunned Van Tassel and the other witnesses.

The man returned, Van Tassel said, and allegedly kicked Ferreira in the head. When Van Tassel tried to push him away so he couldn't kick him again, he kicked Van Tassel in the collarbone before he finally left. Van Tassel said it appeared that Ferreira lost consciousness as soon as he hit the curb.

Ferreira was rushed to San Francisco General Hospital. Friends said he had been kept on life-support for several days. He was pronounced dead on Saturday, February 4, the San Francisco Medical Examiner's office said.

"I still can't believe he's gone," Awad told the Bay Area Reporter on Monday, February 6, just after returning from a trip to Brazil. He first learned of Ferreira's death in Brazil when a friend called him on his cell phone. The news of Ferreira's death also left Van Tassel shaken. He first learned that he had died when he was informed of it by the B.A.R. on Monday, February 6.

Witnesses said that the confrontation between Ferreira and the man who they say attacked him was the result of Ferreira sticking up for a friend.

A witness, Jason Ashbaugh, told the B.A.R. that the man first hit Ferreira's friend after another friend argued with the man in the line to the bathroom in the Bar on Castro. Ashbaugh said the man, apparently still angry about the exchange in the bar, hit Ferreira's friend in front of the Chevron gas station. The man later hit Ferreira, Ashbaugh said, after Ferreira caught up with the man and another man he was walking with in front of the Rolo store.

It's unclear what role the second man played in the alleged assault.

Ashbaugh said he knew Ferreira and he also knew, but not as well, the man who he said hit and kicked Ferriera.

"He was always getting in fights and arguments with people all the time," Ashbaugh said of the alleged assailant.

Ashbaugh added, "Chad [Ferreira] never had any problems with anyone. He was always smiling all the time. He was always anti-drama."

At press time, police said they had no suspects in custody. San Francisco Police Lieutenant Leroy Lindo told the B.A.R. that his department, General Works, was informed on Monday, February 6, that Ferreira had died. As a result, the case was transferred to homicide, Lindo said. San Francisco Homicide Inspector Kervin Silas told the B.A.R. on Wednesday, February 8, that no suspects have been arrested in the case and that it was too early in the investigation to release more details about the circumstances of the crime.

"Chad was a beautiful person," said a friend who asked not to be identified. "He would do anything for any of us. He was a great person."

The friend added that Ferreira worked at the Pinnacle Fitness gym in downtown San Jose and trained for six to 10 hours each day in hopes of making the U.S. Olympic taekwondo team.

"We was such a beautiful person, we were so close," said Rebecca Mendez, who worked with Ferreira at Pinnacle Fitness for two years but knew him for 10 years.

"He was so passionate and exited about life," she added. "And he was very smart. He gave me great advice that helped me in my life."

Mendez noted that Ferreira's greatest passion was for kickboxing. He often declined to hang out with friends so he could take more time to train. He also recently traveled to Thailand to train there.

Mendez and Ferreira's stepsister helped organize a memorial service for Ferreira scheduled for today (Thursday, February 9) at 7 p.m. at the Lima Family Erickson Memorial Chapel on 710 Willow Street, off Bird Avenue, in San Jose.

Mendez said that a makeshift memorial is in place at the gym with flowers, a large photo of Ferreira, and a condolence book. They are also collecting donations at the gym, located at 150 S. First Street, to help pay for the memorial expenses.

Mendez works in the childcare department at the gym. She said that although Ferreira's main job was to work at the front desk, he often helped her with because he loved to work with kids. She said that a little boy she cared for learned to say Chad as one of his first words because he liked Ferreira so much. Mendez added that Ferreira also helped train kids who were interested in kickboxing at a studio where he worked out.

The incident came as no surprise to San Francisco Patrol Special Police Officer Jane Warner, a veteran beat cop in the Castro.

"I can't tell you how many fights I respond to on weekends," Warner said. "There have got to be other solutions than this thug mentality of violence fueled by alcohol. It's all so stupid. Fights over nothing. I don't think they realize at that age how dangerous that can be.

"In this case, a guy is dead. Look how many people that's affected, the victim's family and friends and the suspect's family and friends," she added.

Meanwhile, Awad plans a celebration of Ferreira's life that will also be a fundraiser to help his family pay for funeral expenses. It will be held on Saturday, March 11, from 9:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. at the Obsecion @ Eight Nightclub & Lounge, 1151 Folsom Street, between 7th and 8th streets in San Francisco. All of the door proceeds will be donated to his family, Awad said. He added that the cover charge will be $10 and that they will also "pass the hat" for more donations.

Awad emphasized that the event will be the kind of high-energy, upbeat party that Ferreira would have wanted.

"Chad was so full of life, so full of energy, this is going to be a celebration of his life," said Awad.

For more information log onto and click on the Obsecion page.

Correction published 2/14/06: A witness to the alleged assault on Chad Ferreira was previously misidentified in the print version of article as Edwin Cordon. The name of the person who stopped to help Ferreira is Stanley Van Tassel. The Bay Area Reporter apologizes for the error.

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