A 28-year-old gay Asian man Joshua Dowd was found unconscious with a severe head injury on the train tracks in Atlanta, Georgia. Dowd was discovered on the train tracks near Piedmont and Lakeshore Drive by a 25-year-old man walking by on July 11, 2021. Dowd is unconscious and fighting for his life at Grady Hospital.

Dowd’s partner of three and a half years, Colin Kelly, told Atlanta station CBS46 there isn’t enough information to let them know what happened. He was found with a blunt force injury to his head, bleeding, barely breathing and left for dead. 

“I don’t know how he got there. It’s not an area he would typically be in. As far as I can tell, someone hit him with something very hard on his head.” 

‘Someone Hurt Him’

Dowd went out with friends to Midtown on Saturday, July 10, and at an unclear point, separated from his group. It is uncertain where he went or who he might have met. 

“He’s fighting very hard for his life right now, but someone hurt him and it’s very severe,” Kelly told the media. 

Police are still working on discovering the motive. Kelly does not believe the attack was a robbery because Dowd still had his phone and debit card. Friends and family think it could be linked to his race and sexual orientation.

Friends described Dowd as “the most kind, caring, spirited, Ariana Grande loving person on this planet. He has changed the lives of many. Joshua is the type of person who leaves a mark everywhere he goes, and none of us want to ever imagine a life without him.”

CBS46 reported that police were reviewing surveillance videos and had spoken to a few witnesses. According to the report, videos showed Dowd entering The Heretic bar in Buckhead with a man on July 10 and they are then seen exiting with another man around 3 am. Footage shows Dowd in the parking lot with a group of eight men, who go to another bar, but find it closed. 

Kelly told the media that it is unclear about what happened subsequently or how Dowd ended up on the train tracks. The men were not mutual friends of the couple, and Kelly expressed apprehension that Dowd might have been given more alcohol than he needed.

Community Rallies To Support Joshua Dowd

A GoFundMe has been set up for his medical bills and has raised over $100,406 of a target $100,000 at the time of publishing. His friends, the organisers, said Dowd is recovering from brain surgery. Doctors are unsure what the outcome will be. 

 The lates update on the page said: “Josh is breathing entirely on his own! There will still be times where they turn on the ventilator to support. But this is a huge step on his journey. Please celebrate, be thankful, and pray for additional help which will get him to full consciousness.” 

There has been an outpouring of supportive comments and donations on the GoFundMe page. Michael Lavin, one of those who donated money, commented, “This breaks my heart! I was a gay teen when Matthew Sheppard was lynched. I lived not far from where that happened. I think about that quite a bit. This is so terrifyingly similar. Josh, you and your family are in our hearts! KEEP FIGHTING!! This is why we celebrate pride! Because this crap still happens!” 


If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.

For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14

For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.



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