On patrol in Staten Island with vigilante Dark Guardian

You can’t miss Dark Guardian on the street. Armed with a red Mag Lite, clothed in a Kevlar vest, a black and red motorcycle jacket and pants, the 27-year-old can be found in neighborhoods most would avoid at late nights.

On Wednesday night he’s patrolling Staten Island with Nitro, 20, where both of them live. He’s come almost straight from work in New Jersey, where he teaches martial arts to about 100 students of all ages.

Usually he patrols for a few hours a couple days a week, mainly in Staten Island for convenience. He and Nitro want to hit up a few places tonight, including Stapleton and Port Richmond. It’s a quiet night, save for the lone man throwing trash and yelling about the “god machine.” The duo trail him for a few yards, but it doesn’t look like the man will cause any trouble. Dark Guardian says he wants to make sure the man doesn’t approach the wrong person, or that the wrong person approaches him. At about 3 a.m. the two finish patrolling. They take off their gear at Dark Guardian’s car, when a man asking for $15 approaches. He calls himself John Moore, and says his son has been stabbed and is in critical condition in Jersey. The man shows him benefit cards, IDs and doctors notes. Dark Guardian gives him the $15 and turns down the man’s phone number.

“Whatever I can do to help,” he says.

Dark Guardian also goes by Chris, or Chris Dark Guardian. When asked about what terms he uses to refer to himself, he said “real life superhero,” or “civilian activist,” both accompanied by quote hand signals. But really, what he says he wants to get across is Dark Guardian is just a persona. From charity work with the homeless population to visiting children in St. John’s hospital, at the core of what Chris says he really does is community activism.