Homeless Comm. Speaks Out in Defense of Kidnapping Suspect
One homeless woman who spoke with News 25 says Monday’s incident is not indicative of the character of the homeless population. Jessi Kitchings has been homeless since 2010. She says when the public thinks of homelessness, they’re usually not positive images. Kitchings says, "People are getting the perspective like we’re bums, we’re low lifes, we’re drug addicts. A lot of these homeless people out here have lost their jobs.”
When a local homeless man is arrested for kidnapping and rape, it doesn’t help the perception. The victim had her hands and wrists bound by duct tape and ran naked to the Lowe’s in Gulfport looking for help. When Lynda Favre, founder of Shepherd of the Gulf, heard the news about Monday’s crime, one man came to mind. Favre says, "I went immediately to my phone and pulled up his number to call him and of course there was no answer, but that’s the first person I thought about was Clint."
Andrew Clinton Cruse Jr., known by friends as Clint, had been homeless for years. He lost his wife in 2010. Those who knew him say the loss may have been a turning point for the worse. Favre also says, "What happened to him? Because this is not the quiet, smile on his face kind of guy that we’ve normally seen."
The homeless community wants to stress this is an isolated incident and is in no was indicative of the entire homeless population on the Coast. Kitchings closes, "What I’m saying to the Mississippi Gulf Coast right now is don’t jump to conclusions. Homeless people are not violent."
While Cruse awaits his day in court on March 4th, the rest of the homeless community, like Kitchings, continues to live life as normal and hopes this unfortunate incident does not shed the wrong light on their community.