HAZLETON — Hazleton Police Chief Frank DeAndrea said everyone in the city should be outraged.
“Outraged because this is a good town, this is a good community,” said DeAndrea.
Chief DeAndrea joined members of the Guardian Angels from Wilkes-Barre, an unarmed citizens watch group for a symbolic walk patrolling the streets of downtown Friday night. The chief wants a local chapter of the group in his city.
Early Sunday morning, Andrew `A. J.’ Goryl was found badly beaten on a Hazleton street. Police are searching for his attackers.
“It’s really sad that nowadays people are afraid to walk the streets that they grew up in, and we want to come down here and make them feel that they can still do that,” said Kristen Krushnowski of the Wilkes-Barre Guardian Angels.
“Don’t be afraid, do what you’ve got to do, stand up for yourselves,” urged Chris Wolfe, also of the Wilkes-Barre Guardian Angels.
The attack on Goryl is the latest in a string of violent crimes in Hazleton. A.J. Goryl`s parents used to run a crime watch group in Hazleton. On their son’s 33rd birthday, they walked alongside the Guardian Angels. They told Newswatch 16 their son is still breathing on a ventilator, but has opened his eyes. This week, the Goryls spoke out at a crime watch meeting urging people to take back their comunity.
“Everybody get involved, please, because I don`t want anybody here in this room or wherever the viewing area is to have to sit here like I do and say ‘This is a picture of my son or my daughter,’ because it could happen to you people. Get these guys, get them off the street, put them in jail where they belong and get them the hell out of our town,” said Andrew Goryl.
That is exactly what some citizens and the police chief plan to do.
“My hat is off to the family, this is one ugly way to celebrate their son’s birthday but they turned something bad into something good. So when A.J. does recuperate, God willing, he is able to look at what the community has done and think, wow, even I made a difference,” said Chief DeAndrea.