McKinley Heights father finds used syringes in backyard

"Into a place you think, oh this is a safe place, this is an ok place for us but obviously it's frustrating to see that happen."

ST. LOUIS – A father in McKinley Heights is furious at his neighbors, after finding used hypodermic needles in his backyard. Ryan O’Neil said he believes the needles were thrown from people who stay in the house next door.

Despite his efforts to get those individuals evicted, the wheels of justice are moving slowly.

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“Have a place to live but still be able to connect with people,” said O’Neil.

O’Neil and his family moved to McKinley Heights in hopes of starting a business and planting a church. A year later, he’s well on his way.

“Into a place you think, oh this is a safe place, this is an ok place for us but obviously it’s frustrating to see that happen,” he said.

As a father, he couldn’t be more alarmed by what he discovered, in the early hours of Monday morning.

O’Neil’s surveillance video shows him greeting his wife’s car in the driveway, when he noticed something on the ground.

“You can see my shadow waiting for a couple minutes to try to figure out what in the world is happening and there was a used syringe just laying right here in our backyard area where we usually walk through to get to our car,” said O’Neil.

He believes people who stay at the building next door may be to blame. Over the past year, he’s witnessed countless ambulances arriving for overdose patients.

5 On Your Side reached out to Ward 7 Alderman Jack Coatar. He said his office is aware of the problem and plans to meet with the property owner.

In the meantime, he said in order to build up a case for eviction or even condemning the property, he needs several neighbors to call police when they see suspicious activity.

As for O’Neil, he said, while living in this neighborhood is his dream, he said it can’t come at the price of his family’s safety.

“We 100% would love for the city to step into a nuisance where there is a significant issue,” said O’Neil.