Residents in Ventura want to know what went wrong after 35-year-old Anthony Mele Jr. was stabbed in the neck by a passing homeless man that police had been made aware of.
Ventura Police received a call last Wednesday about a homeless man "yelling and being disruptive" in the city's promenade area, where hundreds of people flock to every night to enjoy the boardwalk and restaurants located there.
Police back at the station took the report and because there were no officers available nearby, watched the homeless man for a few minutes on a remote video camera before ultimately deciding that the homeless man was not a threat.
Hours later, the Jamal Jackson entered a steakhouse and plunged a knife into Mele's neck in front of his wife and daughter. Jackson has been charged with murder and is being held without bail. He is set to appear in court later this week.
Ventura Police Chief Ken Corney told the Los Angeles Times on Monday that officers should have engaged with the homeless man, and not just monitored him on a remote camera. Corney said, an administrative review of the incident is currently underway.
However, residents in the community are outraged as to the lack of police response, and wonder why someone could be randomly killed like that.
One article, written in the wake of Mele's murder, accuses the Ventura Chief of Police, City Attorney and City Manager of being complicit in Mele's death. The website also mocks Ventura's failed "10-Year Plan to End Homelessness in Ventura" calling it a failed initiative. While homelessness wasn't ended in Ventura, the city did see a drop of 50% since 2012.
Police in Ventura say they're going to increase patrols in the promenade area as well as proactively engage with homeless residents.
Mele's family has set up a GoFundMe account in the wake of the 35-year-old's death to help his family deal with unexpected expenses.