Slain victim's father deals with tragedy

34-year-old's killer sought by police

Author: Elizabeth Campbell, General assignment reporter, ecampbell@wjxt.com
Published On: Jul 15 2013 04:06:43 PM EDT   Updated On: Jul 15 2013 06:52:01 PM EDT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The father of a man shot and killed at a Westside bus stop Saturday morning says more needs to be done to help prevent these crimes.

Balloons and a lit candle mark the spot in memory of the man killed during a robbery. Vinnie Siegrist, the father of that man, says he has lived in the area for nearly 30 years, but unfortunately its starting to go downhill and something needs to be done.

"I'm seeing houses are getting robbed, their sheds are getting broken into, all their tools getting taken. It's unbelievable," he said.

Siegrist said he never imagined his son -- 34-year-old Michael -- would be the victim of crime in his own community -- something he said has gotten worse over the years.   Michael was shot and killed during a robbery early Saturday morning while he sat with a friend at a Westside bus stop near Jammes Road and Harlow Boulevard, just a mile down the road from his home.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office's crime mapping website, the area is a high area of crime. There were more than a dozen robberies and burglaries, a handful of assaults and a couple of homicides, all within just the last month and a half.

"It's crazy. It seems like every time you turn around now it's like something else is happening: a shooting over here, somebody getting run down, somebody getting robbed and beaten up," Siegrist said.

This crime is worrisome to many, especially because it happened at a public bus stop where it's common for people to sit and wait. Police said the robber asked the woman with Michael for her purse, and she complied and gave it to him. Michael then tried to stop the robber, and that's when he was shot and killed.

Channel 4 crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson says if you are ever in a situation like that, always comply with the criminal.

"You're kind of vulnerable sitting there," he said. "What you have to remember is if a person brings a gun to a fight and you have none, you need to relent and give them what they're asking for, comply with the demands of the robber."

Neighbors in Siegrist's community are also on edge after the killing.

"I feel unsafe for No. 1," neighbor Linda Alexander said. "I feel like locking my doors, watching my back when I enter in my car and outside my home, and not trusting people."

Siegrist is doing what he can to cope with this tragedy.

"He's going to be missed," Siegrist said. "He was taken from us way too early."

Anyone with any information related to the killing is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.