LOS ANGELES — A man is in custody in connection with the murders of three homeless men in Los Angeles, California, officials say.
Update 8:33 a.m. EST Dec. 3: The suspect, Jerrid Joseph Powell, 33, was arrested on murder and robbery charges which are connected with the follow-home murder in San Dimas, California.
Powell was already in custody for the follow-home murder when he was formally arrested Saturday for the murders of the three homeless men, KCAL reported.
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore said in a news conference that after his first arrest, a handgun was found in his car that matched the three murders, according to the news station.
“Twenty-four hours ago, we announced there was a killer on the loose, now he is in custody,” Bass said on Saturday. “Right after the conclusion of yesterday’s press conference, my office was able to convene more than four hundred people representing city departments, housing service providers, regional agencies … and elected officials at the city and county level to ensure that they would [get the word out] about the threat facing our unhoused community,” Mayor Karen Bass said, according to KTLA.
“Over the course of the investigation of our murders, we were able to identify the vehicle we believe is connected to our three homicides as being the same vehicle that Mr. Powell used in the murder of Mr. (Nicholas) Simbolon,” Moore said at Saturday’s press conference, according to the news outlet. “(We learned) that it was being held in custody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department as evidence of their murder.
Update 5:43 p.m. EST Dec. 2: Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore said during a news conference on Saturday that the suspect was identified as Jerrid Joseph Powell, 33, and has been apprehended, according to CNN.
Moore said that Powell was connected to another homicide in San Dimas. That put the number of homicides at four in four days, KTLA reported.
Original story: The Los Angeles Police Department said that detectives are investigating three separate murders that happened between Nov. 26 and Nov. 29. Each victim had been experiencing homelessness.
“A single individual approached each one and shot and killed each one as they slept,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore said in a news conference Friday afternoon, according to KTLA.
The first victim was shot in an alley just after 3 a.m. on Nov. 26 by 110th Street and Vermont Avenue, the Los Angeles Times reported. He was identified as Jose Bolanos, 37.
The second victim was identified as Mark Diggs, 62. He was found the following day in the 600 block of Mateo Street just before 5 a.m., the Times reported.
The third victim was found on Nov. 29 around 2:30 a.m. near Avenue 18 and Pasadena Avenue. His name was not released but he was identified as a 52-year-old Latino man, according to the newspaper.
The three victims reportedly all slept alone in open areas where they were found dead, according to KCAL.
The police department released two images in a news release Friday that included a possible suspect vehicle and a possible image of the suspect.
“As we always do in the face of a challenge or crisis, our region is mobilizing to respond to this issue. We will work tirelessly to find the individual responsible, arrest them, and hold them accountable. I have met with our partners at the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles Housing Department and we are moving immediately to get the word out to our unhoused neighbors in housing networks. Our message to our unhoused community is clear -- try not to be alone tonight. We will do all we can to make shelter and services available. To the many Angelenos who have friends or family who are unhoused, please let them know the danger that exists. We must stay safe. We will work diligently to bring those responsible to justice,” Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said in a statement.
“The Los Angeles Police Department is employing all available resources to bring justice to these murder victims. I am thankful for our City partners who are working with us closely to ensure the safety of this vulnerable population as we pursue the criminal investigation,” Moore said.
“I commend the LAPD for creating a dedicated task force to uncover the identity of a potential serial killer preying on the most vulnerable in our community. I’ve assigned our Major Crimes Division, Bureau of Victim Services and our Bureau of Investigation to assist with these efforts. Today, we demonstrate our collective resolve and stand united in our pursuit of justice, unwavering against the darkness that preys on the most defenseless among us,” Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said.