Over the years, Serge Fournier had become something of a staple at the Desert Plaza Senior Apartments community in downtown Las Vegas.
The 74-year-old had been living in the complex at Maryland Parkway and Carson Avenue since at least 2004, and his neighbors had become more like family to him than friends.
“It’s a huge loss to our family,” property manager Melody Shay said Friday on the lawn of the complex, where the community held a yard sale in Fournier’s honor.
It has been a little more than three weeks since he died of complications from the torso injuries he suffered when he was pushed off a bus in early March after telling an irate woman “to be nicer to the passengers,” police have said.
Fournier landed about 8 feet from the bus, and police said the 25-year-old suspect in his death, Cadesha Bishop, walked away without offering help. She was with her young son at the time.
Friday’s yard sale was a community effort to help Fournier’s longtime partner, identified only as Esther, stay in their apartment unit, according to Shay.
She organized the fundraising effort, donating more than half of the items that were on sale Friday. The rest of the items — televisions, clothing, shoes and paintings — were donated by other Desert Plaza residents.
People had traveled from all corners of the Las Vegas Valley to the small apartment complex to support Fournier and his partner.
Summerlin resident Dorothy Kerzetski learned about the yard sale on Facebook, and almost immediately she and her young son got into the car and made the drive to the downtown area.
She purchased a painting of a beach for herself and a baseball for her son.
“You take good care of that baseball, young man, OK?” Shay said to the boy as he looked up at her. “It belonged to Serge.”
Sitting under a tree Friday morning, Bernice Avila, a neighbor and friend to Fournier and his partner, guarded the money the community had made, warmly greeting passersby and other fellow residents.
A woman, walking with a cane, slowly made her way to Avila. As she struggled to balance against her cane, she dug out a dollar in coins from her pocket.
“I had to scrape up what I could,” she said as she handed Avila the loose change.
“Thank you, sweetie,” Avila said. “Anything will help.”
Fournier and his partner were never married, but they may as well have been, Avila said.
Avila moved into the complex in 2012 and quickly grew close to the couple. Over the years they spent most holidays together, she said.
Since losing her friend, she said she has been at a loss for words, still in disbelief that anyone could physically harm someone who needed a walker to get around.
On March 21, the day Fournier encountered Bishop, he had gone out to get some grocery shopping done, Avila said.
He was just a block away from home, inching his way toward the bus door with his walker, when the shove that led to his death occurred.
Fournier declined medical attention at the time but then arrived at University Medical Center later that night because of his injuries, police have said.
But on Friday, Avila kept reverting to one word when describing her friend: kindness.
“He will be remembered for that,” she said. “He was just so sweet.”