FORT MYERS, Fla.- The family of a man murdered in Fort Myers says police need to do more to protect witnesses. One month since a father-to-be was gunned down at an apartment comples, there are still no arrests.
Armando Pagan died on December 12th. His death is one of 19 unsolved murder cases in Fort Myers for 2012. Police say someone shot Pagan inside his home at the Palm Vista Apartment Complex.
An out of town relative now speaks on behalf of the family that is frustrated the case has already grown cold.
"We don't really expect that anyone will be arrested for this. The police are ineffective in curbing the crime rate," the victim's uncle Jose Pagan said.
The Pagans are encouraged by Friday's announcement that Southwest Florida Crimestoppers and Fort Myers Police will offer more reward money for tips leading to arrests in violent crimes.
However, Pagan says there is a culture of fear that police are up against.
"They're intimidated. I actually didn't go to the service, because I felt it was dangerous to go to the service," he said.
Fort Myers Police Chief Doug Baker announced Friday, he has reached out to lawmakers for help in solving the rash of violent crimes in the city. Chief Baker sent a letter to Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto ultimately asking lawmakers to consider offering more protection for witnesses and victims.
The Chief says they rely on witnesses who are willing to talk to help them close a case, but he wants to keep the media and the public from finding out who those people are.
"When you go out and you're talking to individuals and they're worried about fear and retaliation, you know the general public would have no idea. Neighbors would have no idea that an individual participated in an investigation unless you reveal it," he said.
Crime Stoppers wants to remind residents that they will remain completely anonymous when providing their tips. No names or information which could identify the caller are ever taken, and Crime Stoppers never records phone calls and does not have caller ID. Tipsters are given a code number, which is the only way they are identified, and all rewards are picked up in cash, so as not to be traced back to the tipster in any way, shape or form. Tips may be made 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by calling 1-800-780-TIPS (8477). Tips may also be made online at www.swflcrimestoppers.org or by texting a tip to CRIMES (274637) Keyword: REWARD. For additional information, contact Trish Routte, Crime Stoppers Coordinator, at 239-477-1407 or firstname.lastname@example.org .