SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - A San Francisco neighborhood is on edge tonight after hearing that a well-known arsonist in the city's Castro District has just been released from jail.
David Munoz Diaz was also convicted of involuntary manslaughter five years ago for the death of sexual partner who was strangled and burned.
The vibe on the corner of 18th and Castro Streets is a typically a colorful and mellow one but today, people who live and work here say they are outraged that Diaz, who started fires at The Neighborhood Mix Bar and the Up Hair Salon, was released from jail just days ago.
"This guy might do something again to the neighborhood but we gonna be more aware of it, sid Cem Bulutoglu, who owns the Gyro Xpress on 18th and Castro.
Even a pair of London tourists told KTVU that they had read about Diaz's exploits in the media and were going to avoid "The Mix Bar" this trip. "I think that this guy is obviously dangerous." said Simon Isaac.
Merchants said they're leery of Diaz, who was convicted in 2011 on an involuntary manslaughter charge. Police say the then 22 year old strangled his sexual partner Freddy Canul-Arguello in Buena Vista Park and then set the body on fire. Diaz was released after three years and then, several arsons cropped up in the Castro. Diaz was arrested and sent back to jail.
"I think the thing with the arsonist is pretty scary but I think it points to a bigger problem we are not dealing well with repetitive offenders," said Brian Hill, with Castro Community on Patrol. "We need to accept the fact that some people need to be confined longer."
San Francisco Police say on September 26th, a stay-away order was issued for Diaz for 180 days, preventing him from coming within 150 yards of "The Mix Bar" and the "Up Salon."
"Once we get the photo we will post it up for the employees all to have a good look," said Martha Asten, who owns Cliff's Variety Store on Castro Street. Officers tell KTVU they plan to circulate Diaz's photo to every merchant within 150 yards of the Mix Bar, which is owned by Diaz's former longtime partner.
"We've seen this with other people who we've known to be incarcerated who come back out and they're back at their same old tricks," sighed Asten.
Neighbors say they feel helpless, and that's why Hill says he plans to vote for a judge this November who's tougher on criminals. "We wound up with a lot of judges in San Francisco, and juries as well, that don't give actual jail sentences or they're so short they're meaningless."