Los Angeles authorities warned the homeless, “do not sleep alone” after three who were struck dead in four days potentially fell victim to the same suspect that police are reluctant to dub a “serial killer.”
Hours after California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) attempted to smile his way out of addressing the ravages brought on by crime during his debate with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), officials from the City of Angels gathered Friday to address a threat posed on the considerable homeless population.
During a press conference featuring Mayor Karen Bass (D), District Attorney George Gascón (D), Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore and others, three murders spanning from Sunday through Wednesday were attributed to “a single individual.”
“The commonalities amongst these homicides are that each of the victims were in an open area, whether it be a sidewalk or an alley. They were alone,” explained Moore while police had yet to conclude “if these homicides are related.”
Police reports detailed that the first victim was a 37-year-old man killed Sunday after 3 a.m., the second a 62-year-old man murdered a little more than a day later before the third, a 52-year-old man was killed Wednesday around 2:30 a.m.
“We believe a single individual approached each one and shot and killed each one as they slept,” said the police chief. “There are similarities in each of the three cases.”
While investigators remained on the lookout for the suspect, releasing an image of a hooded man and a vehicle captured by surveillance footage, they did not shy from attributing motive as Bass asserted, “I want to be very clear about what we’re facing today: This is a killer who is preying on the unhoused.”
“Our message to the unhoused community is clear: do not sleep alone tonight,” said Bass. “Seek shelter, seek services, stay together, seek support.”
“This is individuals, not encampments, that are being preyed on,” she contended.
Similarly, the LA Homeless Services Authority released a statement that said, “The LAPD has announced that they suspect a serial killer is targeting people experiencing homelessness who are sleeping alone and unsheltered. Anyone experiencing homelessness, please pair up with someone else, seek shelter, & if you must sleep outside, please do not sleep alone.”
The LAPD has announced that they suspect a serial killer is targeting people experiencing homelessness who are sleeping alone and unsheltered. Anyone experiencing homelessness, please pair up with someone else, seek shelter, & if you must sleep outside, please do not sleep alone. pic.twitter.com/XXjO2HAyQy
— LA Homeless Services Authority (@LAHomeless) December 2, 2023
As part of the response that included the release of a community safety bulletin that further encouraged the use of shelters, maintained vigilance and to reach out to authorities about suspicious activity, the city announced an Augmented Winter Shelter Program from Dec. 1-4 to set up temporary shelters that included motel beds.
In addition, please read this important Community Safety Bulletin from the LAPD’s Homeless Coordinator Office. pic.twitter.com/HJw1yzbudT
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) December 2, 2023
Of note, the homicides bore similarity to the arrest of Gerald Brevard III who had been arrested in March 2022 and charged with first-degree murder for allegedly shooting five homeless men in New York City and Washington, D.C., two of whom died from their injuries.
Brevard was indicted in September on 17 counts related solely to the three attacks in D.C. that led to the death of 54-year-old Morgan Holmes.
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