I don't know Mark French, the 56-year-old man who was assaulted and killed on Saturday night on Caroline Street in Saratoga Springs, but the story rocked me much like it did many of us in the Capital Region.  The little bit of research I did on this very tragic story on Tuesday yielded a few more details, but one thing I know for sure is that this is the kind of senseless tragedy that makes you realize just how precious and fleeting life is.

What we do know is that the assault took place shortly after 11 PM on Saturday night on Caroline Street.  That's when according to reports, French was violently struck on the back of his head after he came to the aid of his son who had also been struck moments earlier. 

When police arrived on the scene, French was taken to Albany Med and later was pronounced dead.  The two men charged with this horrible crime - classified as a homocide - are brothers James and Jordan Garafolo, both from Saratoga.

While the Saratoga Springs police say that French is from South Carolina, his Facebook page shows that his hometown is Saratoga.

According to the Times Union, French, a retired corrections officer and pancreatic cancer survivor, was in town visiting family and friends while enjoying a day at the Saratoga Race Track with his son, Nick and some friends.

After a day at the course, French and his son went to get some food at Clancy's Tavern on Caroline Street.  According to the TU, they were getting ready to leave at around 11PM when an altercation ensued that ultimately turned deadly.

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As they were leaving, French's son Nick was allegedly sucker-punched in the back of the head, and French went to help his boy out.  He too was struck in the back of the head.

One of his best friends, Kevin Gordon told the Times Union that, “He fell down so hard, he hit his head on the pavement and went into full cardiac arrest,”

“When he went to Albany Med, they put him on life support...He didn’t have a chance. He never came out of it. It’s senseless, just senseless,” he told the TU.

On Monday, members of his his family posted news of his passing to his Facebook page, and hundreds of comments flooded in from people who knew Mark as well those who just wanted to express their condolences to his remaining family.

Here are some of the comments:

Louisa Foye wrote:

"My heart is broken hearing the devastating news that my buddy Frenchie is gone! I just saw him Friday, so it's very hard to imagine that he left us so quickly thereafter. My deepest condolences to you, Angela, Grayce and Nick, and may the love and joy your husband and Dad spread while he was with us comfort you now in your darkest hour. He was so positive and upbeat when I just saw him, and I truly believed he was ok, because he smiled and laughed with me, as always, never missing a beat, or the chance to share his pixie dust, while telling me he was fine. With tears rolling down my cheeks, I send you my love and prayers, and hope you can find strength in his courage 'til the end to say goodbye to such a wonderful guy."🙏😢💔😔❤🙏

Andrea Krylowicz wrote:

"I don’t have words to express my deepest condolences for this heartbreaking loss. I was fortunate to have seen him twice this past week and hear about all the good things happening. He will truly be missed I’m sending extra prayers your way and for the kids."

Kelly Waters Leclaire wrote:
"This breaks my heart. Mark and I were friends,as kids like 30 years ago. Fast forward to now, we reconnected when I moved (closer to him) 5 yrs ago... I looked forward to Mark's visits...he was a connection to my childhood , happier times. It was so nice to reminisce ( I have lost both my parents) and it was so nice to know someone from back then. I will miss his hardy,contagious laugh...I will miss my friend,Mark. God bless all of you. Fly high,friend"
Craig Goodman wrote: 
"My thoughts, prayers and condolences to you and your family, we lost one of the best. Wherever he was posted, I knew the area was in great hands and supervised by a professional, he was a coworkers and supervisors kind of Officer, thank you for your service, RIP Mark"

If you witnessed this incident or have information, you may contact the Saratoga Springs Police Department by calling (518) 584-1800, calling (518) 584-TIPS (8477) to remain anonymous, or by e-mailing tips@saratogapolice.org with information.

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