Neighbors and family members say Kasey Lebechuck wasn't fond of the homeless people who would try to camp near his neighborhood in Portland, Oregon — and he was trying anything he could to get them to leave.
But Shawna Lebechuck, the daughter of Kasey, told KOIN that her father's decision to confront one homeless camper "backfired on him." Her father went up to a homeless person named Todd Schneider who was trying to camp in the bushes, Shawna said, and the 25-year-old man pretended to look for a phone in his backpack before bringing out a knife.
Schneider stabbed Kasey 17 times, police told Fox12, injuring everything from his lungs to his eyes to his stomach. Schneider was arrested for first-degree assault.
Leaving a trail of blood in his path, Kasey stumbled to the home of a nearby neighbor, who called 911, Shawna said in her interview with KOIN. She said her dad, who passed out once he reached the house, "wouldn't be here today" if the neighbor wasn't there to help.
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Neighbors say news of the assault has left them stunned.
One neighbor, Becky Gibson, said that Kasey had made a habit of confronting the homeless.
“We found out a couple weeks ago that he was going down and talking to any homeless people down there," she told Fox12, "or motor people in motor homes that would park there, and would tell them they couldn’t stay there."
Gibson added that she and other neighbors told Kasey "we thought he was nuts" for continuing to go up to the homeless people who would congregate in the area, even though the neighbors appreciated his actions. Kayla McNeel, another one of Kasey's daughters, told Fox12 that her dad "always stays on top" of the issue by confronting loiterers and reporting the issue to local authorities.
The family has created a GoFundMe page to help cover the medical expenses for Kasey, as well as provide him with a meal service while he heals. It has surpassed the $3,000 goal.
"It is truly a miracle he survived this attack," the page created by Kayla McNeel reads. "My dad is a hard working man who was trying to protect his neighborhood."
The attack happened around two miles from the site of a proposed homeless shelter that has drawn the ire of nearby residents. According to KATU, neighbors complained that they heard very little of the proposed project, which would be right behind residential houses, have 125 beds for homeless men over the age of 55 and come with an 8-foot fence.
"There was no information from the county at all. I feel like they should at least contact the neighborhood about what's going on," resident Jeff Chapman told KATU. "You hear about the stabbings and things like that, and the unpredictability and the drugs and stuff like that, so people are unpredictable."
Shawna Lebechuck doesn't believe the shelter will help solve any problems, she told KATU, and instead argued that mental health treatment would be a better solution. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that between 20 to 25 percent of homeless people in the country have "some form of severe mental illness," reports the National Coalition for the Homeless.
"I don't think a homeless shelter is going to fix anything," Shawna Lebechuck said. "It's not going to solve the issue."
Shawna told KOIN that her family is fighting to have Schneider face a charge of attempted murder, rather than just assault. And neighbor Mary Hane said she hopes the local government can do something to make sure this doesn't happen again.
"No one should have to go through this, just going up and asking a person to maybe move on and not be in a place that he shouldn't be," she told KOIN. "We're so let down by the city, this shouldn't be happening to tax paying citizens."