SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - Three drifters accused of killing a Canadian tourist in Golden Gate Park and a hiker in Marin County are being linked to an assault last year in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury District.
Locals say at least two of the suspects got into a scuffle near a local bar last year. Neighbors say it's indicative of a decades-old problem and it took the killings to shine a light on it.
Sean Angold, 24, Lila Alligood, 18 and Morrison Lampley, 23 have been arrested and charged with the murders of 23-year-old Canadian backpacker Audrey Carey and 67 year old Bay Area tantric yoga instructor Steve Carter.
Last July, Lampley and his girlfriend Alligood were in a brawl outside Hobson's Choice Bar at the corner of Haight and Clayton streets, according to Firras Zawaideh.
Zawaideh, who manages Liquid Experience less than a block away says, he heard the commotion that night and ran down to help. He saw bar regular Richie McAllister, trying to break up the fight between Alligood and Lampley.
He says McAllister was then attacked by a group of drifters and ended up with a concussion, broken nose and black eye.
"They punched him in the face they proceeded to beat him until some guys from the neighborhood intervened."
Witnesses say Alligood ran after the bar's doorman with a Taser.
McAllister recognized Alligood and Lampley from their mugshots after their arrests just weeks ago and notified police.
"We're paying our taxes, we're paying rent and we have to deal with this every day," Zawaideh said.
He says Haight-Ashbury residents are fed up with the drifter element.
"They come in hordes, busloads! And they park their buses by the park, they sleep in the park or they sleep in the doorway here on Haight street and it's tiring," Zawaideh said.
Last week, residents voiced their concerns about transients and crime at a meeting at SFPD's Park Station.
"At this present time we plan on keeping our officers out there, there will be a high presence, a high visibility of the police department on the Haight," said Lt. J.Newman.
KTVU spoke with a woman named Mary Jo, who didn't want to give her last name for fear of retaliation.
"Unfortunately, it took something like that for them to take action," she said, referring to the trio's arrest and police's recent beefing up of patrols.
Mary Jo lives near Haight and Clayton streets and says the drifter element has been out of control.
"They were putting excrement, dog and human, in front of my gate," she said
Mary Jo says she had a run-in with Lampley just days after Carey was killed.
"We had a little confrontation, so I was trying to make peace with [the street kids] and he just seemed evasive, sullen," remembered Mary Jo.
She says often a group of 25-40 drifters would hang out on the sidewalk in front of her apartment, blocking her path. Since police stepped up patrols last week, the transients have disappeared.
She hopes that the police presence stays, because if patrols dwindle, the drifters will simply come back.