HAZLETON — The brutal beating of a man has a community coming together to see what can be done about violence on the streets.
A man was found badly beaten in Hazleton last weekend and his parents gave an impassioned plea Thursday night for justice.
Friday night, Hazleton police plan to meet with members of the Guardian angels, an unarmed citizens crime watch group.
Andrew Goryl, Jr. better known as A.J. should be celebrating his 33rd birthday with family and friends. Instead he is still in critical condition after being assaulted in Hazleton last weekend.
The area of Lafayette Court and 5th Street in Hazleton is quiet. A few marks on the street are the only sign of the violent assault of Goryl.
He is in the hospital on his 33rd birthday in critical condition, with skull fractures, a broken jaw and more.
Goryl’s co-workers at the nearby Edwards distribution services say he is a good guy and are praying that their friend pulls through.
Keith Knowlden worked with him installing office furniture.
“It was a shock. We came into work, I had just seen him on Saturday afternoon, we left work around noon and Monday morning I came in expecting to go to work with him again,” said Keith Knowlden.
Knowlden says he is praying for A.J.’s recovery and wonders what could have happened.
“As far as I know he didn’t, no one that I knew had anything in for him. I just don’t know what would have gone on that would have caused this to happen.”
People who live near where Goryl was found Sunday morning are shaken by the crime.
Ramon Perez says he has put his house up for sale, and wants to move his three kids to a safer neighborhood.
“Every week, some problem, some crime in the city, every week, you know?”
Hazleton police say they still don’t know who’s responsible, or why anyone would beat Goryl nearly to death, but he was found without his wallet.
Now a crime watch group is walking the streets in hopes of learning more.
“We want answers. We want to know what happened. We want to know who was a part of this. We want to know who did this because whoever did this is going to pay for this,” said Vilmarie Budde of the Hazleton Crime Watch.
Some neighbors are skeptical.
“People are afraid today to say they’re part of a crime watch. They’re afraid of retaliation.”
Friends are still hopeful someone comes forward and answers a father’s plea:
“What did my son do so bad to deserve this? That’s all I’m asking. What did he do to get this, that he’s lying there, fighting for his life?” asked Andrew Goryl, Sr.
The crime watch group, along with Police Chief Frank DeAndrea and members of the Guardian Angels will be walking the streets in Hazleton starting at the corner of Broad Street and Wyoming Avenue in Hazleton, hoping to start uncovering some answers.