TAMPA, Fla. (WTSP) – As Tampa police continue to look for clues in a string of three murders in the city’s Seminole Heights neighborhood, another group is stepping up efforts to protect the community heading into the weekend.
The Tampa chapter of the Guardian Angels patrols regularly in areas like Ybor City and downtown St. Petersburg, but have focused extra attention on Seminole Heights in the wake of the killings.
“This is what we do,” said Guardian Angel Raymond “IKON” Fagnon. "The main purpose of us is to make the community feel safe, so if people look out their window and they see us they're going to be like, 'Oh, wow, someone else is out here to help us', or they'll open up the door and be like 'Oh, you guys are out here'. That's our purpose: to just be visual eyes and ears and to be a help."
And people living in Seminole Heights seem to appreciate the Angels’ presence. Tuesday night, before a group of Guardian Angels headed out on patrol, a woman stopped them in a Walmart parking lot to express her gratitude.
“I’m from New York, I remember the Guardian Angels so I want to say thank you,” she told them. “Thank you for taking care of us. New York strong. Florida strong. Puerto Rico strong. Seminole Heights strong.”
“We’re just here to serve as a physical deterrent,” said Daniel “D.A.S.H.” Flack. “To let the people of the community and the citizens know that there is a group of private citizens, we’re all volunteers, who care about the safety of the communities in our area.”
“I love doing what I do, you know?” added “Rio”, who became a member of the Guardian Angels when he was a 16-year-old living in New York City. “I’m never here for publicity or anything, I’m just here because I like doing what I do and helping people out in any way possible.”
The group says it has large patrols set up throughout the weekend and for Halloween night which include members from other Guardian Angel chapters across Florida, and they plan to continue patrolling Seminole Heights while the killer is still on the loose.