SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) — A homeless man was found in Springfield’s Emily Bill Park with a gunshot wound to his hand and leg. Springfield Police Lt. Richard LaBelle told 22News the gunshot wound could be from one bullet. Police searched the area with dogs and one shell casing was found.
Officers were searching for one man that ran away from the park after the shooting, but Lt. LaBelle said they are having difficulty getting more information from the homeless victim that has mental issues.
Residents in the area say he was never known to cause any problems and don’t understand why anyone would want to cause him harm.
The homeless man was taken to a nearby hospital and is expected to survive. But some residents in the area told 22News it’s hard for any of the homeless to find a safe place to sleep in the city.
Franklin Holland of Springfield said, “These shelters there’s all kinds of shootings, stabbings, people fighting. So they choose to sleep outdoors where they figure they’re safer.”
22News spoke with the Executive Director of Friends of the Homeless Shelter in Springfield about the resources and security they have in place. Bill Miller said, “We have security through the night at the shelter so there’s not violence that’s going to happen in the shelter, and we have lockboxes people can lock their things. But still its full, I mean we have 130 to 140 people a night and sometimes people will just want to take a night out if you will sleep somewhere else.”
But if a homeless person chooses to be outdoors and may not be rationale in doing it, they can be more susceptible to the violence on the street.
The Friends of the Homeless works with local area hospitals to help the homeless get appropriate services based on their needs.