South Lake Tahoe resident Jesse Mancillas has spent little time at home lately, ever since he and his wife learned last week that their close friend Ali Khan had been critically injured on a downtown Sacramento street.
Khan, a longtime Apple tech support employee who lived in Elk Grove, died Thursday. But more than a week after police and medical crews found Khan unconscious at 12th and K streets early Aug. 27, what caused his major head injuries remains a mystery.
Khan had attended a birthday party at nearby Coin-Op Game Room that evening and a Sacramento Police Department release initially said he was intoxicated, had fallen and had struck his head, with no sign of assault. Later, though, the department said Khan’s injuries suggested a possible assault and the case had been assigned to the department’s major crimes division.
A department spokesman said Monday that investigators continue to seek witnesses. Those include passengers on an unidentified party bus in the area about the same time based on surveillance camera footage.
“There are no solid facts,” Jesse Mancillas said in an interview Monday. “We just want to know the truth.”
Underlining the case is the nationwide uptick in hate crimes, and worry among some who knew Khan, 38, that he could have been attacked because of his heritage. Khan is from Pakistan.
Christian Carriger was a friend of Khan’s for more than four years. Khan, Carriger said, was “very chill,” and enjoyed playing video games, biking and working with his 3-D printer.
“He was a kind and gentle soul,” Carriger said.
Mancillas and his wife, Cara Battalico-Mancillas, met Khan about a decade ago when they all worked for Apple. Khan joined family and friends for Battalico-Mancillas’ birthday celebration Aug. 26 at Coin-Op.
Police later contacted Battalico-Mancillas after officers had identified Khan, whose wallet and phone had been stolen. She reached Khan’s family in Pakistan through Facebook and Khan’s mother rushed to Sacramento. She arrived at the hospital several hours before her son died.
“She’s just devastated,” said Battilico-Mancillas, who picked up Khan’s mother at the airport.
The Sacramento Police Department asks anyone with information about the assault to call the dispatch center at 916-264-5471 or Sacramento Valley Crime Stoppers at 916-443-4357. Callers can remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.