Within hours of returning home from military service, an Army Ranger and West Point graduate was hit by a car in Huntington Beach, Calif. He died from his injuries nearly a week later on April 23, but mysterious text messages suggest foul play may have involved, reports revealed this week.
Stephen Broadus, 25, was planning to start his post-service life in Seattle, Wash., but first went home to visit family and friends. Prior to his return, Broadus had a conversation with his sister, Tammy, ABC 7 reported Wednesday.
“I told him a few weeks ago, ‘You’re finally free to go wherever you want to go, live wherever you want to live, do whatever you want to do,'” Tammy said.
Broadus went out on his first night home, and security footage appeared to show he wasn’t drunk when he left a bar around 2 a.m.
“They weren’t drinking a bunch. They were just having fun. We saw him leave,” Tammy said.
Later that morning around 5 a.m., police told Broadus’ family that he was hit by a car on Beach Boulevard where he had been walking in the northbound traffic lane.
In the wake of the incident, Broadus underwent brain surgery and slipped into a medically induced coma for nearly a week until he died on Saturday.
Now, Broadus’ family is demanding answers, with many remaining unconvinced that the incident was an accident.
Calls and messages between Broadus and his friends from earlier that night suggest he was attacked after he left the bar.
“His friend did hear arguing in the background, so he knows that there was someone starting something with him,” Tammy said. Minutes later, another text from Broadus read, “I’m concussed.”
Broadus sent another text with a similar message around 3:15 a.m. His friend responded, “You good?”
About 20 minutes later, Broadus replied, “Nah dude I got jumped twice and got no battery.”
Roughly an hour later, he was hit by the car. Officials said the driver reported the hit and cooperated with police.
Broadus’ father, Robert, said he wanted an autopsy performed on his only son, and hopes to see him laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery with a 21-gun salute.
“He is a hero and a veteran,” Robert Broadus said, “and he can join the rest of my family members who are also buried over there and get that respect.”
Broadus’ mother asked people in the area to check their cameras for anything suspicious. Anyone with information should call the Huntington Beach Police Department.
An online fundraiser was created days before Broadus ultimately passed away.