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3 homeless people in L.A. shot to death; police suspect serial killer

The Los Angeles Police Department is asking the public for help Friday in apprehending a possible serial killer responsible for a string of murders targeting homeless victims.
The Los Angeles Police Department is asking the public for help in apprehending a possible serial killer responsible for a string of murders targeting homeless victims. | Source: Los Angeles Police Department

UPDATE, Dec. 2: Authorities said Saturday afternoon that they arrested someone in connection with the killings of three homeless men in Los Angeles and linked the suspect to a fourth homicide.

Los Angeles police are searching for a possible serial killer officers believe is responsible for a string of deadly attacks against people experiencing homelessness, officials announced Friday.

Authorities are currently investigating three separate fatal shootings that occurred between Sunday and Wednesday.

All three victims were unhoused, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore said each of the three victims was alone and sleeping on a sidewalk or in an alley when they were killed.

"We believe a single individual approached each one and shot and killed each one as they slept," Moore said during a news conference. "There are similarities in each of the three cases."

The suspect, described only as a man, was reportedly seen driving a dark-colored sedan, although it is unclear if he acted alone or if there are additional individuals involved, the department said in a statement.

READ MORE: Ex-San Francisco Official Offers Alibi for One of Series of Bear-Spray Attacks on Homeless

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass urged people experiencing homelessness to find shelter and "not sleep alone tonight."

"Seek shelter, seek services, stay together, seek support," Bass advised. "We need your help to get the word out."

Bass added that she has engaged with various organizations, including the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Housing Department to ensure immediate outreach to the unhoused population.

City and law enforcement officials also announced that a task force will investigate the murders.

MORE ON HOMELESSNESS: Attack on SF Businessman in Marina Reveals Growing Tensions Over Homelessness

The killings are the latest in a series of attacks against unhoused Californians in recent years.

In 2018, a 47-year-old Houston man named Ramon Escobar was arrested and charged after beating to death four people and severely injuring several others in a spate of attacks in downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica. He was later sentenced to life in prison for the killings.

Last year, Wesley Brownlee was arrested and charged in San Joaquin County with a spree of shootings, seven of which were fatal, in Stockton and the Bay Area. Investigators noted in that case that three of the men who were fatally shot and two of the victims who survived were unhoused.

READ MORE: Ex-Official Plans New Downtown San Francisco Restaurant as Homeless Assault Case Continues

In San Francisco, a homeless man allegedly beat Don Carmignani, a cannabis entrepreneur and former city fire commissioner, with a metal rod in an April 5 attack in the Marina District. Carmignani was later accused of bear-spraying homeless people several times prior to his assault. The former commissioner and his attorneys have denied that he was involved.

Joel Umanzor can be reached at jumanzor@sfstandard.com