A 63-year-old pedestrian who was attacked in south Lethbridge Saturday evening died in hospital four days later.
Longtime Lethbridge resident Barry Pelletier was walking in the area of 18 Street and 2 Avenue South around 5:40 p.m. Saturday when two other men got out of a vehicle and beat him. A witness called police and Pelletier was taken to hospital, where he died Wednesday.
Lethbridge police don't know whether the man died as a result of his injuries from the assault. They're still investigating the case, awaiting the results of an autopsy to be performed today in Calgary.
Police have not said whether they have identified any suspects in the case. A news release issued Thursday afternoon didn't include a description of the two suspects and indicated that police would not release any further information.
But Pelletier's nephew said it's hard for him to believe that his uncle's sudden death may not be connected to the assault he suffered.
"He had been severely beat up. There were boot prints on his face and he was going through surgeries" to repair his face, said Darren Cyr of Calgary. "So I don't know how it could be unrelated."
The attack is "mind-boggling," said Cyr, who described Pelletier as a church-going, law-abiding citizen with a big family in the area.
"I don't understand how it could've even happened," he said. "He's just an easy-going, nice man that I don't think has ever hurt anybody in his life."
Pelletier had been in a car accident years ago that left him mobility-challenged, his nephew said, and he often took walks around town.
"Since he had that accident, he's always been somewhat challenged, but he's a funny guy - calls everybody 'shorty,'" Cyr said. "Well-liked. Definitely a significant loss to our family."