Madison police said a homeless man has died after being severely beaten outside the State Capitol early Tuesday morning.
Justin Brooks, 32, of Madison has been arrested and charged with one count of homicide in the case.
People gathered in downtown Madison Wednesday night to pray for the victim.
They met outside of the Capitol not far from where the beating happened.
Those that gathered Wednesday night said although they didn’t know the victim, they wanted to pray for him.
“I think it’s a reminder of the vulnerability of homeless people,” said Jonathan Greaser, Grace Episcopal Church priest. “We think about that in the winter with subzero temperatures and blizzard conditions and things, but they’re completely exposed year round and if you don’t have a support system, if you don’t have buddies looking out for you, random acts of violence can happen.”
Homeless advocates say the 61-year-old’s death points to underlying issues for people without a home.
“We have failed as a community to strengthen the safety net and help catch people before they fall through and commit a crime like this or end up living on the streets,” said Linda Ketcham, of the Greater Isthmus Group.
The Greater Isthmus Group meets monthly to discuss issues related to homelessness and affordable housing.