Police have identified 36-year-old Joshua Fitzpatrick as the man who was killed on Willetta Street in Phoenix early Saturday morning.
A man had tried to force his way into the home through the front door. Police say it’s the same man they suspect lit a front door on fire as he tried to get into another home up the street about an hour earlier that night.
Neighbors tell Arizona’s Family that Fitzpatrick’s wife is so grief-stricken, she doesn’t plan on coming back to the duplex they called home for about a year. People on Willetta Street also say Fitzpatrick was an engineer at Honeywell and that he could often be found working on his yellow scooter in his driveway.
There’s a concern in the Roosevelt District about criminal activity on the rise over the last year to 18 months or so. Chandler Travis lives near where Fitzpatrick was killed and attributes the rise in crime to the recent closing of a nearby homeless shelter.
"We’ve [sic] window break-in and a laptop removed," said Travis. "We've seen just a lot more of these incidents where we have people in the neighborhood who don't live in the neighborhood who are using the alleyways, coming through, and unfortunately, we have this incident where someone was killed.”
Travis has also found syringes in the alleyways and says the homeless population in the area has changed to younger people who are sometimes more aggressive.
Chris McDonald lives across the street from where the homicide happened. He once had a man who he believed to be on drugs pounding on his front door in the middle of the night. He called the police and they responded 40 minutes later.
“Our neighborhood isn’t quite as safe as it used to be,” he said.
McDonald praises the police for the work they do and doesn’t place blame on officers themselves but he’s concerned the department is too understaffed to appropriately and quickly handle the crimes that have been creeping up more often on and around Willetta Street.
The Fitzpatrick’s next door neighbors have set up a GoFundMe page to help the family. They’re also planning a neighborhood meeting later this month to discuss the recent criminal activity.
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