By Bethany Carlson
The Thursday morning stabbing of James Bradford, which was non-lethal and resulted in four arrests, brought tensions in the homeless community to a new level. Marge Pettitt, a homeless resident of the camp, said she had spoken with one of the alleged attackers, Emily Kinney, on the day before the altercation and says Kinney was coming down from meth. Pettitt says both both Kinney and her husband Craig use meth. Kinney claimed that Bradford had “slept with someone he shouldn’t have.”
A woman who wished to be known only by her street name of “Moose” heard some disturbance around 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday night. She says she heard screaming and people yelling “Hit her, hit her.” Both Moose and Pettitt indicated that this third woman had been involved in the incident and had been injured after trying to stop the attack on Bradford. Moose said she was so tired when the police woke her at 2:30 a.m. that she forgot to tell them she’d heard anything earlier.
According to Moose, the police department said that because of the altercation, the whole camp had to move.
“We’re doing all this to show everybody we’re good people, and then [this happened],” says Pettitt. Moose doesn’t know where she will go, and is worried she may lose her job at a local hotel because of having to move out of the camp.
Pettitt says of Moose, “She didn’t want her situation. If there’s women out here above 40, it’s because we came here because of domestic violence, I would say, 90% of the time.” ‘
These women were among the dozen who had nowhere to go when the women’s shelter closed for the season almost two months ago. Now, they express concern for their safety. Pettitt slept with a shovel and baseball bat nearby.
“It’s like the people on meth have no conscience. That’s where our crime is coming from,” Pettitt says, continuing, “It’s not doing any good to cite Walter, who’s 62 and lives in the shelter, for having a beer on a park bench. The last thing we want is for the police to come out as armed guards and protect us, we really just want a sanctuary.”
Moose agrees, “We just want someplace to go, where we don’t have to constantly worry about this stuff.”