CENTRAL WEST END, Mo. – Police said an O’Fallon man with multiple crime sprees including robbery, assault, and sexual abuse left behind victims from O’Fallon, Missouri to Central West End (CWE).
The latest incident happened on Friday, August 5 at the Kingside Diner up the street from the Chess Hall of Fame in the CWE. According to the police, a worker asked the suspect to stop panhandling on the diner’s patio. The surveillance video caught the suspect punching the worker in the face. The worker was treated for a laceration to his lip.
“Without warning and without hesitation, he hit this employee very hard in the side of the face and took off running … this could be so much worse,” said retired St. Louis Police officer, Jim Whyte.
Whyte is now the Executive Director of the CWE Security Initiative, which oversees efforts to fight crime and advance public safety in the neighborhood.
Whyte said the suspect has been a threat in the neighborhood for nearly a year. Darian McCleod Israel, 28, of O’Fallon, has had six arrests in the neighborhood since August 2021, according to a court document.
“He’s been involved with forcefully taking something from somebody, hitting somebody unconscious one night, and stealing his wallet,” said Whyte.
One Central West End resident said the neighborhood gets dangerous at night.
“There’s always a worry, especially later here at night, it gets a little creepy,” said Angie Schaffer.
Both Schaffer and Whyte said they have encountered the suspect, who has a previous conviction for groping a shopper at a Walmart in Wentzville.
Court records showed his grandmother has been granted orders of protection against him in the past.
Israel is currently being held with no bond.
Both Whyte and the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s office said they are working to address mental health concerns, enlisting the help of St. Louis’s Behavioral Health Response service (which has partnerships with St. Louis Police and the City of St. Louis) to help break the cycle of crime.
“The end result is we want to make sure he’s in a safe place. We want to make sure those in our community are safe from his behavior,” said Whyte. “We want to see the real issues pushing him into criminal court get addressed finally.”
Schaffer said there needs to be “a solution for mental health.”
“I just think we need to find better solutions for mental health because there’s a lot of people around here, you see them and you think, they really need help,” said Schaffer.
Israel is also currently wanted for allegedly stealing wallets at the Renaud “rec” center in O’Fallon.