SAN FRANCISCO - A brutal attack on a hotel maid and the suicide of a young man over the weekend is having repercussions at a major medical convention in San Francisco.
It happened Sunday at the Marriott Marquis on Mission Street where many of the conventioneers are staying.
Just hours before the injured housekeeper was found, a young man employed by the convention sponsor, jumped to his death from the same hotel.
"We are just grieving his loss at this point, " Dr. Jack Lewin told KTVU.
As CEO of the Cardiovascular Research Foundation, Lewin is presiding over a gathering of 10,000 cardiologists from around the world, exploring breakthroughs in heart research and devices.
But what happened as the convention was getting underway has shaken those working behind the scenes.
"All I know is that we lost a young staff person and we're very much in grieving," confirmed Lewin.
The 26-year-old man who jumped from the high-rise roof is identified as Alexander Damhuis of Brooklyn, New York. He landed on a fifth floor deck and died instantly.
Later the same day, a hotel maid was found critically injured in a penthouse room.
Sources tell KTVU she had been choked and sexually assaulted and that the room was one Damhuis is known to have been in.
"Certainly there's the proximity and both of those events happening at the same time," acknowledged Anand Singh, President of Unite Here! Local 2, the hotel worker's union that represents the victim.
"It's my understanding that she didn't show up at the end of her shift, at which point the hotel went to investigate and found her, " he elaborated.
If there's a connection between the suicidal man and the assaulted woman, Singh says it's up to police to make it.
The housekeeper is in intensive care at San Francisco General Hospital.
"We've spoken with the family and they've put a very strong face on this. We hope she will make a full recovery," said Singh. "And the union is going to conduct our own investigation to find out what steps need to be taken, if any, to make sure all of our members are safe and secure in this job."
Management at the Marriott Marquis deferred questions to San Francisco Police, but confirmed the guest suicide, and the assault on their employee.
"Well, I don't know anything about that, " responded Dr. Lewin, when asked about the attack. "But we're dealing with the loss of a young man."
his boss said Damhuis had worked as a medical educator on certification training for a few years and hoped to become a doctor himself.
Lewin says as far as he knew Damhuis had no history of instability or violence.
"None whatsoever. None," he declared. "He's just a nice young man."
Beneath the bustling exhibit floor, convention staff who knew Damhuis have a room set aside to meet with a grief counselor.
"His unexpected death here, just tore the staff up," lamented Lewin. "People are just heartbroken."
Becaue Monday was a holiday, San Francisco Police were not available to comment on the cases and possible connections between them.