Man’s Death Shines Light On Dangers Of Tulsa's Growing Homeless Population

Friday, June 16th 2017, 5:20 pm
By: News On 6

Someone beat a man to death under a Tulsa bridge near Archer and Denver. 

"It's tough for us,” said John 3:16 Rev. Steve Whitaker. “It's always a gut check.”

Police believe his face was covered in bruises and say it’s likely another homeless person beat him to death.

"I can't imagine someone coming off that's not homeless that has no connection to this area finding a homeless man and beating him up,” said TPD Sgt. Dave Walker.

It's a tragic story, dying alone on the streets.

Related Story: Body Found Behind The Jail Is Tulsa's 39th Homicide

But it's a fate all too familiar for people who live in encampments and make their living on the streets.

"We don't really get how risky the lifestyle really is and how many people don't make it out of it,” said Rev. Whitaker.

Whitaker runs the John 3:16 homeless mission.

He says Tulsans are some of the most generous people there are. And it's that generosity that's made it easier for people to survive somewhat comfortably on the streets.

"Sometimes people’s idea of charity is giving someone money standing on the side of the street,” said Whitaker.

Although it's a kind gesture, he says you're better off to direct the homeless person or panhandler to one of the many organizations around town that specialize in helping them, by not only providing food and shelter but also helping them actually get off the streets.

He recommends places like John 3;16, The Salvation Army, The Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless, The Mental Health Association and more.

"We've got a problem as a community,” said Whitaker. “We can do better than what we are doing right now."

John 3:16 said instead of handing out cash, print and hand out the compassion cards in the following link: John 3:16

If they call the number on the card, someone will get them help.