Heavy Hearts for Tiny in Chula Vista

Craig Wayne Hartman, "Tiny,” a Chula Vista High School alum, class of '72, was found dead in the bathroom of the Food 4 Less on Palomar Street in Chula Vista on August 13, apparently stabbed...that was the word on the street.

There was an uproar within the homeless community to find the person or persons who did that to Tiny. As it turned out, according to police, Tiny had suffered a cut that was deemed accidental, but he died from “an unrelated medical issue.” Perhaps years of alcohol abuse caused his organs to shut down. He was unconscious when found and later pronounced dead at UCSD Medical Center.

At the International Christian Center on Third Avenue in Chula Vista on August 26, a large crowd gathered, some homeless and some not, for the center’s free Sunday-night dinner and church service. Twice the usual amount of people showed up that night for Tiny's memorial.

Hartman had lived on the streets for years and been visiting the Christian center regularly for the past three to make use of the services (hot meals and clothing), the social interaction, and doses of hope. Sister Hazel and Brother James, coordinators of the service, had a long history with Hartman. They both said he always was kind and thoughtful, always brought stuffed animals to the children of the center and would ask permission from James to give them out. The children called him “Uncle Tiny.”

There were speakers before the dinner on August 26. A high-energy volunteer named Thai said that Tiny's death weighed heavy on the heart. Johnny A., another charismatic volunteer and recovered addict, said that Hartman was always helping others. Both described Tiny, with his 6'5" frame, as a “gentle giant.”

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