US violence: Man suspected of killing 3 homeless men in Los Angeles is arrested

A busy street in Lincoln Heights. Several people are walking down the street, with multiple cars on the road.
A busy street where one of the homeless people were killed in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES, Dec 3 (NNN-AGENCIES) — Authorities have arrested a suspect in connection with the killings of three homeless men in Los Angeles this week and tied the suspect to a fourth homicide nearby, officials said.

The suspect, identified as Jerrid Joseph Powell, 33, a resident of Los Angeles, was already in custody after being arrested on Thursday morning in connection with the killing of a father of two in San Dimas, California, in a robbery on Tuesday. Powell had followed the victim home, officials said.

The three homeless victims — all men who were in alleys or open areas by themselves — were shot and killed in the early morning hours on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday, authorities had said. Two of the victims have been identified as Jose Bolanos, 37, and Mark Diggs, 62, who both suffered a gunshot wound to the head, according to the coroner’s report. The third victim has not been identified as his next of kin has not yet been notified.

Authorities said they have not yet established a motive for those killings.

Michel Moore, the Los Angeles police chief, said that authorities had identified a vehicle they believe was used in all four homicides and tied it to Powell, who was already in custody in connection with the San Dimas killing of Nicholas Simbolon, 42, who officials said was a county employee.

A handgun found in the car also matched the weapon used in the killings of the three homeless men, the authorities said.

In June, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority reported in its last count that there were 46,260 people who were homeless in the city — a 10 percent increase from the year before.

In 2022, 92 people who were homeless or “transient” were killed in Los Angeles, a number that has steadily risen in recent years, according to Crosstown, a nonprofit newsroom that analyzes Los Angeles Police Department data.

On Friday, Karen Bass, the mayor of Los Angeles, said the killer was “preying on the unhoused.” Her office said it would open emergency shelters, and she and other officials urged anyone sleeping on the streets in the surrounding areas to find shelter indoors or avoid sleeping alone.

The Los Angeles Mission, a longtime nonprofit that supports homeless people, deployed outreach teams to canvass the Skid Row neighborhood to tell people about the situation and the resources available. — NNN-AGENCIES


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