San Diego

Irish Student Recovering From Brutal Attack in Pacific Beach

After a week in the hospital and a medically induced coma, Denis Murphy, a childhood friend of victim Evan White says White is starting to recover

A college student from Ireland who was found nearly beaten to death in a Pacific Beach alley is showing signs of improvement as he continues to recover, according to a friend.

Evan White, 21, was discovered unresponsive and severely beaten in an alley between Law and Chalcedony streets in the early morning hours of June 16. Once hospitalized, he was put into a medically-induced coma.

White is a student at the University College Cork in Cork, Ireland. He and friend Denis Murphy are visiting San Diego for the summer, along with five other University College Cork students. The group has been in Pacific Beach since May 16.

Like many Irish university students before him, White came to Pacific Beach for the usual tourist trappings: a summer job and a cultural experience.

The night before White was found brutally beaten, he had been out in the beach neighborhood celebrating his 21st birthday at several bars and restaurants along Mission Boulevard. At one point in the night, he was separated from his friends. Murphy said he wasn't with White that night because he had to work the next morning.

For now, San Diego Police Department (SDPD) investigators have very little information about what happened to White and why he was attacked. No witnesses have come forward just yet. The investigation is ongoing.

Despite the terrible turn of events, White and his friends are not giving up on their pursuit to enjoy their summer trip of a lifetime. They also haven't soured on San Diego.

Murphy told NBC 7 White is on the mend and now out of the medically-induced coma.

“He is doing great. He is recovering very well. His progress is coming along nicely," Murphy said.

Murphy said White's parents flew into San Diego to be with their son. Murphy has been visiting with the family and with White.

“They’re just glad to see their son. Once they heard what happened they were scared, and once they saw him they are fine," he added.

Murphy is hopeful that his friend will soon be back on his feet and that their group from Ireland can continue the summer adventure they’d planned.  

“We were a little scared when we first found out what happened to him, but he’s fine, and we are going to try to move on as best as we can,” Murphy said.

Another Irish student in San Diego with White's group told NBC 7 that White's recovery is a key factor in helping police piece together what happened to the college student. His friends are hopeful White will soon be able to tell police details  about who did this to him.

White was working a summer job at the Ray's Rentals store near Belmont Park.

Murphy said White is a kind, genuine person, which makes the assault even more baffling.

"He’s a nice guy and completely genuine. He’s harmless. He’s a gentle soul and would never do anything to anyone else and has never been in any sort of altercation in his life," he explained. "He’s one of my best friends. We’ve known each other since we were kids."

The group of Irish students plan to stay in San Diego until their original departure date, which is Sept. 10.

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