Homeless community frightened following weekend homicide - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/9/10

Homeless community frightened following weekend homicide

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The investigation continues on Danny Brazeal, 40, who police found Saturday at the Civic Center stabbed to death. 

Friends and family now mourn the loss of Brazeal. Though he was known to stay at his mother's house, Brazeal was reportedly more of a wanderer and frequented shelters.

Brazeal's death has his friends in the homeless community shaken up and wanting a safer place to sleep at night. "You're going to wonder what can happen to you next, living on the streets is dangerous and deadly," says Rachel Johnson. "It's not a pretty picture."

"Life is dangerous on the streets. Homeless people need to be safe in shelters so they can be protected from the murders that are going on," says homeless person Gilbert Moreno.

Moreno says he too was attacked while sleeping on the street and has a black eye to prove it. "I was sleeping outside when it happened, three guys came on top of me," he said.

The homeless community says they are more vulnerable because they have less. Unlike Brazeal, his friends do not have a warm place to stay. "He would always stay at Salvation Army. He was a quiet man, but he was nice," says Brazeal's friend and local homeless person Krystina Biller.

The Salvation Army Emergency Shelter remembers when Brazeal frequently stayed and helped as a bell ringer in the winter. Captain Mike Morton says the shelter allows people to stay for three consecutive nights, every 90 days unless they start their program. Morton says Brazeal refused help. "We provide an emergency shelter, but if you are using us on a day to day basis, that's not an emergency. Our program is to help you at the crisis, to help you change," said Morton.

Morton says there are around 135 homeless people in Lubbock and The Salvation Army can only hold so many. "We're operating at 110% capacity right now."

Others in the community cannot offer a warm bed, but they can offer a warm meal. Seven days a week various churches and organization offer food free to anyone in need. The Bridge of Lubbock, a religious non-profit is just one of the many and offers lunch from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Brazeal's long time friend says more help in the community is needed to stop homelessness. "We have a problem with the homeless people. The shelters aren't the protection they deserve. They don't need to be huddled up laying on the steps of the civic center," says Matthew Yugovich.

The Lubbock City Council recently voted against taking any further action to help the homeless. However a new shelter called Lubbock Rescue Mission will be built in the next year to offer transitional housing.

Brazeal's family has set up a memorial fund to assist with funeral expenses. You can make a donation at any branch of People's Bank.

Copyright 2010 KCBD. All rights reserved.

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