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ST. LOUIS • The parents of a man fatally stabbed at the New Life Evangelistic Center homeless shelter in 2008 have filed wrongful death lawsuits against the center, saying the center did not provide adequate security.

Tammy Church and Eric Dunlap of St. Louis filed separate suits Monday in St. Louis Circuit Court. Their son, Jeremy Dunlap, 21, was stabbed at the center by another homeless man Feb. 12, 2008. That man, Robert Gamble, was  convicted of murder and is serving a 30-year prison sentence.

Church alleges in her suit that the center, at 1411 Locust Street, failed to check or screen residents for weapons and did not have guards or a security system in place. She also alleges that residents were not warned that there was no security and that shelter officials did not respond quickly enough to help Dunlap.

Eric Dunlap's suit acknowledges there were security workers but he claims they were negligent that day.

The center's director, the Rev. Larry Rice, told the Post-Dispatch at the time of the stabbing that guards are supposed to search everyone entering, so he had no idea how a knife got in the building.

Ray Redlich, Rice's assistant, said Monday that the center had not been served the lawsuits yet, but said that since the stabbing, additional security officers now work on the fifth floor, where the men sleep.

"We are saddened that the family would claim that we were negligent," he said. "We are in the business of trying to help people that nobody else will help."

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