Fort Myers Beach churches band together to protect community

Published: Updated:
Photo by WINK News.

A fatal stabbing in January has left some on Fort Myers Beach nervous about their security. Deputies said Adam Soules killed the director of Fort Myers Beach Public Library at the facility.

Beach Baptist Church is among six local church congregations who hope they can stop violence like the incident that caused Dr. Leroy Hommerding’s death from happening again.

MORE: Community mourns death of slain a slain library director

“We felt very safe until recently with the Dr. Hommerding thing,” Randy said. “Prior to that, there was some homeless around but never felt unsafe.”

Randy and Laura Stam say life on FMB is a little unsteady since Hommerding was killed.

Tragedy struck the island last month after this beloved library director was murdered.

Soules is accused of killing Hommerding and attacking another man with a knife less than two weeks before.

“We all knew Adam or red bandanna guy,” said Rev. Shawn Critser of Beach Baptist Church. “Everyone has a distinguishing mark. The narrative has become that we were part of the problem, but we wanted to communicate to the community that we want to be part of a solution.”

Critser is leading an effort to keep the island safe.

“Now we have a collective effort by the community to see patterns and problems before they escalate,” Critser said. “That’s going to be a great way for everything to go to one place.”

Critser says he, along with five other churches, created an email address ( to allow people to report anything suspicious, as a type of community watch.

The email is NOT associated with any local law enforcement and suspicious activity should first be reported to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office at 239-477-1000 for non-emergencies, or 911 if it is an emergency.

“Very helpful, so we can talk about solutions to a community issue,” Laura.

They hope it will calm fear and nervousness on FMB and get people talking about solutions.

“For any citizen who sees anything strange, to at least be a soundboard,” Critser said.

For the emails to the new address, Crister asks people to submit a short description of what was seen, and messages will be entered into a database when it’s received by community members.

Reminder, this email is not associated with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and you must still report any incidents or activity directly to law enforcement.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the above-mentioned email is also associated with LCSO. Law enforcement does not have access to the email.

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