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Gary Fuller

In this file photo, Missoula athlete Gary Fuller celebrates the kickoff of Special Olympics Montana’s 2015 State Summer Games.

A well-known Missoula Special Olympian remains hospitalized after suffering a violent assault Thursday.

Gary Fuller, 37, is both a competitor and organizer for Special Olympics Montana. On Thursday, Paul Lewis Ekstedt, 27, allegedly attacked him with a baseball bat at a Missoula home.

NBC Montana reported that Fuller underwent emergency surgery Thursday night and showed some signs of improvement Friday, but his recovery is far from complete. On Saturday morning, JoAnn Hoven, marketing and communications specialist at Providence St. Patrick Hospital, confirmed that Fuller remained in serious condition in the hospital’s intensive-care unit.

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Fuller not only participates in both summer and winter Montana Special Olympics events, but also serves on its board of directors and is a global messenger for the games.

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“We are just deeply saddened about this attack,” Lanni Klasner, vice president of outreach for Special Olympics Montana, told the Missoulian. “We are just keeping his family in our thoughts and prayers.”

The Missoula Police Department arrested Ekstedt, the alleged assailant, Thursday evening. He is currently listed as an inmate in the Missoula County Jail, and faces charges of assault with a weapon and obstruction of justice.

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