WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — “It’s hitting really hard,” sobbed Faith Beamer. She was overcome with emotion Wednesday thinking about her friend, 49-year-old murder victim Kurt Swan. As she waited for lunch at Saint Vincent de Paul Kitchen in Wilkes-Barre, she shared a picture of him taken about a year ago with one of his dogs. “What we really didn’t understand was he took care of his dogs better than he ever took care of himself.”
Charles Sokolas was also a friend of Mr. Swan describing him as “a real good guy. He took care of his animals. Friends with everybody.” They say he would help others if he saw a need. “He would give you the shirt off his back,” said Ms. Beamer.
St. Vincent de Paul Kitchen Program Director Mike Cianciotta said Mr. Swan would show up for a free meal in recent years and was a well-behaved guest. “He never caused any kind of problems here. Very quiet. Just came in and ate, socialized and went home.”
Before Mr. Swan first became homeless about a decade ago, James Jackson said his friend had a good job. “He was a master welder. Not too many people knew that about him. He was like a really, really good welder.”
While Kurt’s friends at the soup kitchen said he was not a violent person, they did say he had his demons. “He was a pretty bad alcoholic. He liked to drink,” said Mr. Jackson. They also said he previously used synthetic marijuana. “That’s basically what we thought he died from. Natural causes but from Spice or drinking or something, you know,” said Ms. Beamer.
Hearing that someone stabbed Mr. Swan to death, Ms. Beamer fought back tears and demanded justice. “They need to go to jail. They really do. Somebody needs to catch them and they need to take them to jail because Kurt wasn’t a bad guy. he was a really, really good guy.”
Mr. Swan was from western Pennsylvania where his mother still lives. He would stay in touch with her with help from Church On The Square in Wilkes-Barre which he visited. That church is planning a memorial service for swan in July.