“We are all devastated by the brutal murder of Scott Bryan. On Sunday, he was asleep until two young, but adult men, decided to beat him, film it, and post his murder online. This was an unprovoked attack on a person in crisis who didn’t fight back. We wish we would have had the chance to know Scott better and help him get back on his feet.
Trauma like this reverberates. We feel for his family. We feel for the staff at Appleway Conoco gas station and the first responders who had to see and experience the scene. We feel for our guests who fear this will happen to them. And we feel for the volunteers and staff at our organizations as they process this tragedy and find a way to move forward.
We’ve never had violent acts like this toward our homeless community until recently. The increased rhetoric by some community leaders and the barrage of aggressive social media comments dehumanize people who live here. It doesn’t take long for verbal assaults to turn physical.
No one type of person is homeless. Kids age out of foster care. People flee from domestic violence. People are priced out of their homes. Mental Health services in this area are at an all-time low in the valley. Hotels and other long-term affordable housing scenarios have closed, and people have nowhere to go.
Our community has only one year-round low-barrier shelter doing everything possible to keep people safe and sheltered. We know that more services and beds are needed. Samaritan House is building 18 affordable two and three-bedroom apartments, 15 apartments dedicated to veterans, expanding shelter beds, and adding a cold weather overflow shelter. This will help, but it will take time.
We urge everyone to do some soul-searching and find care and compassion for our neighbors. We must come together to give people the support they need and help Kalispell be a safer community – for everyone.”