Cold Weather Blamed for Homeless Deaths in Walnut Creek

This week's cold weather is having a catastrophic impact on those struggling out on the streets.

The weather is being blamed for two homeless men who died this week in Walnut Creek. One of the men, Todd Cambra, was found barely breathing Monday morning near the downtown shopping center.

"Todd was frost bitten on his feet and stomach," said Terry Duce, a friend and homeless person in Walnut Creek.

Cambra later died at a hospital.

After more frigid weather another homeless man, John Dulik, was found dead in the same area on Wednesday. Duce knew both men.

"It's heartbreaking, it's the loss of a friend," Duce said. "Two friends."

The homeless men's deaths come a month after plans to open Walnut Creek's first-ever overnight shelter inside the National Guard Armory fell through.

"What we did as a parish is we accepted the managing contract that was set up for the armory," said Rev. Slyvia Vasquez, St. Paul's Episcopal Church.

When the armory plan fell apart, St. Paul's Episcopal Church stepped in, opening its doors. But Vasquez said there needs to be more options for the growing homeless community in Walnut Creek.

"I think we did all we could do to safe guard them to protect them," said Lt. Sean Conley, Walnut Creek Police Department. "

Conley said officers checked on the men, but they refused help.

"We made several attempts to get Mr. Cambra and Mr. Dulik into shelter and like I said we can't force," Conley said. "All we can do is offer it to them."

Vasquez said more could have been done and believes there should be more than just her church providing overnight shelter in the city.

"I think the city should have and could have done much more," Vasquez said.

Col. Peter Cross of the California National Guard issued the following statement regarding the homeless deaths in Walnut Creek:

"The California National Guard would like to express its deepest condolences for the citizens who passed away in Walnut Creek last night. For the past decade the California National Guard has provided shelter and warmth to thousands of unfortunate citizens who find themselves homeless. In fact we have 10 active shelters within the state.

The California National Guard offered the Walnut Creek armory for all but a few days over a three month period. However the decision was made at the local level to not use the armory."

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