SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KTVU) - A South San Francisco police officer is still in critical condition after being attacked by a skateboarder on Thanksgiving day, but friends say his condition has improved slightly.
Fellow Officers describe Robby Chon as an all-around good guy, a motorcycle cop who's been on the force for 12 years.
On Monday night, community leaders held a 7 p.m. candlelight vigil for Chon. His sister was emotional as she spoke to an audience of about 150 people.
"I beg you to please, please continue to pray and I thank you so much for supporting our family and my brother Robby Chon," says Yumi Chon.
The audience consisted of residents who describe South San Francisco as a small town with a big heart.
"I'm feeling sad about this situation and that something like this has come to South San Francisco," says Russ Toy, who says he didn't know the officer, but is deeply affected by the attack on a police officer who's serving his community.
When Chon was brutally attacked and knocked unconscious by a man with a skateboard last Thursday, it was crushing to the tightly knit police department.
"The mood around here has been very somber since," said Sergeant Ken Chetcuti, who has worked side by side with Chon over the years. "We're a brother and sisterhood of law enforcement and when one of our own goes down on a holiday, it's pretty traumatic."
Chon has been in and out of consciousness since Thanksgiving. Sunday, friends say he made a thumbs up gesture, an encouraging sign, although doctors say Chon has a long recovery ahead.
The assault happened on the 200 block of Grand Avenue. Police say Chon was chasing 28 year old Luis Ramos-Coreas, who had taken off on a skateboard when officers approached him for causing a disturbance. The suspect then allegedly hit Chon in the head with his skateboard.
A passerby took some graphic photos of Officer Chon as he laid in his own pool of blood, unconscious. Some of those pictures ended up making the rounds on social media, which angered many members of the community.
"Oh my god, it was horrific," said Kamala Silva Wolfe, the founder of the online newspaper "Everything South City." Silva Wolfe met Chon at National Night Out in August and describes him as friendly and caring. "This is somebody's father, somebody's brother, somebody's husband. This is our family member in our community. I don't care who it is, you don't post that,"
Wolfe organized the candlelight vigil for Officer Chon at South San Francisco police headquarters which Congresswoman Jackie Speier attended.
"We're gathered here to recognize a hero," says Congresswoman Jackie Speier who thanks Officer Chon for his service.
"We're a small town that has always known where its heart is. Right now, our hearts are with Officer Chon, his wife, his two children and his extended family," says Congresswoman Speier.
"There was a lot of outpouring of concern over the officer and that's where the focus remains," said Silva Wolfe.
"He has a long road ahead of him to recover from his injuries. We are deeply touched by the well wishes for his speedy recovery by an incredible number of people," says Yumi Chon.
"Some of his first words after his fight to live was to repeatedly ask, 'Where's my motorcycle? Where's my motorcycle?'" says Police Captain Danny Gil.
Donors to Chon's GoFundMe page have contributed more than $107,000 to help his wife and two young sons during this difficult time.
"They're completely shocked," said Sgt. Chetcuti. "Like all families in law enforcement, you say goodbye to your loved ones before they go to work and you just expect for them to come home at the end of the day, and unfortunately that wasn't the case."
"As I look into my two young nephew's eyes, I want to assure them that everything will be okay and that their dad will be safe as well," says Yumi Chon.
Captain Gil says he brought the officer's helmet to his hospital room and that brought a smile to Chon's face.
The hope is that the helmet will be a source of inspiration as the officer fights for full recovery.