A beloved member of the Fort Myers Beach community was stabbed and killed in front of the island’s library in broad daylight earlier this month.
After Leroy Hommerding was stabbed to death, a growing issue came to light — homelessness on the island.
The man suspected of killing Hommerding, Adam Soules, 36, was himself homeless.
One council member tells us he believes helping those in need could help could deter crime.
A portable law enforcement surveillance tower is hard to miss. One sits in a vacant lot on Fort Myers Beach serving as a reminder to anyone who considers committing a crime.
Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno says, “People can look and say, you know what, ‘The sheriff’s office is the eye in the sky right now.'”
Fort Myers Beach Mayor Tracey Gore wants to send a message, “Those towers are showing anyone who comes on that island, that we aren’t putting up with that behavior. We are going to see you and we’re going to get you, and were going to take you off our island.”
Soules, the suspect in Hommerding’s murder is homeless, and former Fort Myers Beach Mayor Dennis Bobak says authorities should focus on the issue of mental illness in the homeless population.
“Everyone needs to up their game, period. We need to get these folks help.” Bobak said.
Gore says all of us play a role in keeping everyone on the island safe, “If you see something, you have to tell the authorities. Don’t be complacent. If you don’t tell them, they don’t know.”
And it all comes down to communication.
Suggestions on how to fix this issue are expected to be discussed in the next town council meeting.
The surveillance cameras won’t stay in the same place for long. The sheriff’s department moves the two towers throughout the county.