Jul 8, 2015
1 comment

The suspect in the fatal stabbing of 45-year-old Lakota Brightman in Richmond on Friday night was arrested Tuesday evening at the Sea Horse Motel at 909 Cutting Blvd., police said.

Mark Nelson is suspected of stabbing Brightman — the son of a retired Contra Costa College professor and Native American activist — once in the chest following an argument in the 1400 block of Carlson Boulevard about 10 p.m., police Sgt. Nicole Abetkov said. He was booked at County Jail in Martinez on suspicion of murder.

After the stabbing, Brightman, who reportedly served as a U.S. Army field medic during the Afghanistan war in 2007-8, walked into a nearby store seeking help and was then taken to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries, Abetkov said.

The Brightman family is devastated, with brother Quanah Brightman calling for justice. In March, Lakota’s other brother, Lehman Leonard Brightman III, was struck and killed by an Amtrak train in Richmond.

Their father, Lehman Brightman II, who reportedly founded and coordinated the first Native American studies program at UC Berkeley, has been living in a nursing home after suffering a stroke in 2010, according to Bay City News.

Lakota Brightman was described by his surviving brother, Quanah Brightman, as a hero who was admired and respected by soldiers who served with him in Afghanistan. He began living on the streets about a year after returning from the war, Quanah said.

“He fought hard for this country and when he came home, our home had already been foreclosed and he was forced to live on the street, Quanah told Bay City News.

He further described Lakota as a “gentle, kind-hearted and beautiful human being” who was “always very sociable,” and “just a smooth, cool person who a lot of people in our community looked up to.”

Lakota leaves behind daughters ages 23 and 13.


  1. I loved Lakota and had no idea what he was going through. I am crushed by his death and still find it difficult to believe.

    John Halfacre | Nov 1st, 2015

About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.