A St. Louis man, attacked outside his Cherokee Street business in the fall of 2016 died this week. The 65 year-old immigrant was also suffering from cancer.
5 On Your Side first spoke with Huan Le's family right after he was attacked. He was walking near his business in the light of day, to regain strength after chemotherapy. In a matter of seconds, he was on the ground in a pool of blood and everything in his life changed from there.
Le's family said they aren't a religious family, but at a time like this, tradition provided a certain comfort.
"You're talking to them, and you're giving them your blessings and then what you want to say to them,” explained Vu Le, as he lights incense near a photo of his father.
A shrine dedicated to the late Huan Le displayed with dignity in the family’s living room includes pictures that tell the story of a life filled with happiness and hard work.
"My father's always been a fighter,” Vu Le said, “We came here on a boat to a new world where we didn't understand anything. My father had to build a business, my father had to learn the language, overcome everything that he's overcome, including cancer. The attack made my father into a completely different person, who couldn't fight anymore."
Vu said the attack left his father's face fractured. He stopped eating, and doctors said he wasn't strong enough to continue chemotherapy. The cancer spread, and he entered hospice care.
The suspected attacker, 34-year-old Danny Barnett, is now behind bars charged with first-degree robbery. Le's family would like to see the charges upgraded to murder. Vu explained, "We want justice for my father. He deserves to know that whoever perpetrated the crime will have to do the time for that crime."
Huan Le’s absence is difficult for his wife of 43 years. Family gathered at their home to console her, hours before the visitation.
"Right now I'm very sad, very sad," she said. "My husband, I want him to come back."
5 On Your Side reached out to the Circuit Attorney’s Office. A spokesperson said the office has not yet decided if they will upgrade the charges.