Officials push to close Wakefield shelter after shooting
Elected officials are making a push to close a Wakefield homeless shelter after its director was shot and killed Monday evening following her shift.
Police say 39-year-old West Spruill got into an argument with director Ana Charle, 36, as she walked toward her car from the Wakefield shelter Monday evening. Police say Charle managed to escape from the vehicle before a naked Spruill chased her and shot her three times in the head and chest at the intersection of East 237th Street and Bullard Avenue. Spruill allegedly tried to rape Charle before shooting her.
According to state Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, the incident could have been prevented had the city listened to the community's concerns a few years ago about placing the shelter in its current location. He says that the community and other officials warned of the dangers of putting a men's shelter in a residential community, especially when people did not know convicted felons would be among the residents.
"The community was lied to by the previous administration because the shelter contains a very significant number of people who were convicted felons," Dinowitz said. He went on to say that about 40 percent of the shelter's residents are sex offenders.
Elected officials are planning to join community members Thursday for a rally outside the shelter.
Spruill was arraigned in court Wednesday, where his behavior was described as rowdy. At one point, he requested if his lawyer could be fired.
After the hearing, Spruill's attorney said he requested that his client be put in isolation while in prison.
Spruill lived at the shelter for about six months in 2014. He is facing a number of charges related to the case.
Authorities say Spruill has six prior arrests, and had served time in Michigan for assault with a deadly weapon.