Spurred by the recent killing of a musician on skid row, City Council President Herb Wesson made an impassioned plea this week for increased efforts to move the homeless off the streets of Los Angeles.
Darrell Fields, 62, a longtime musician, was set ablaze in his tent on Aug. 26 and died the next morning. Fields used to play his blues guitar at the office of the Los Angeles Community Action Network (LACAN) and around the skid row area.
“We need to do more to get people off the street and somewhere safe,” Wesson said. “When I talked to Pete White, the leader of LA CAN, and when he told me the story, I said, ‘What kind of animal would set another human being on fire?’ And he said, ‘An animal that needs to be separated from good people.”’
Wesson said there needs to be a measure of discretion in efforts to help the homeless—getting those who are making efforts to better their situations into housing sooner.
“… Darrell would be at the LA CAN office right now playing that guitar, and he was good. I witnessed with my own ears and my own eyes,” Wesson said.
Jonathan Early, 38, is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 25 in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom on a murder charge stemming from Fields’ death. Early allegedly set Fields’ tent on fire near Sixth and San Pedro Streets on the evening of Aug. 26 and was taken into custody a short time later.