A 33-year-old Los Angeles man has been arrested on suspicion of killing three homeless people sleeping alone around the city at night.
Jerrid Joseph Powell, a convicted felon, also is accused in a follow-home killing in San Dimas earlier this week, authorities said at a Saturday, Dec. 2 news conference.
A handgun recovered from Powell’s vehicle was used in the three homeless killings, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said.
Powell is in the custody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said members of the Beverly Hills Police Department took Powell into custody after officers conducted a traffic stop of Powell’s vehicle Wednesday night, and Powell was arrested early Thursday.
Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook said that the stop was a result of the city’s widespread surveillance technology.
After Powell was taken into custody, Luna said, police connected his vehicle to the San Dimas killing, which occurred just before 7 p.m. Tuesday in the garage of a home in the 1800 block of Hawkbrook Drive.
“Our detectives worked with the sheriff’s detectives quickly,” Moore said during the news conference. “That has happened essentially over the past 16 hours, overnight and into the morning.”
The homeless killings occurred early in the mornings of Sunday, Nov. 26, Monday, Nov. 27 and Wednesday, Nov. 29.
In each case, a man approached a homeless person sleeping alone, shot them with a handgun, then fled in a car.
Moore said his detectives had analyzed security camera footage to identify one man who appeared at all three scenes.
The killings were in the Westmont area in South Los Angeles, downtown L.A. and East L.A. just over the L.A. River from Elysian Park.
From LAPD’s headquarters on Friday, Dec. 1, Mayor Karen Bass issued a widespread alert to people living on the streets, urging them to seek out city shelters or to gather in groups to stay safe.
LAPD said the first shooting on Nov. 26 occurred at 3:10 a.m. near 110th Street and Vermont Avenue in Westmont. Moore said the victim in that case, identified as 37-year-old Jose Bolanos, was sleeping on a couch behind a building when a man approached him, pulled out a gun and shot him to death.
The second shooting occurred the next morning. On Nov. 27 at 4:45 a.m., 62-year-old Mark Diggs was pushing a shopping cart in the Skid Row area of Downtown L.A. in the 600 block of Mateo Street. Diggs stopped when he found an electrical outlet, plugging in his phone to charge it. He leaned against a wall and fell asleep. Later, the suspect approached him and shot him to death.
In the third case, the victim has not been identified by name, but police said he was a 52-year-old man. He was sleeping on a sidewalk near Avenue 18 and Pasadena Avenue in East L.A. when the same suspect approached him and shot him to death.
In the San Dimas case, Nicholas Simbolon was found by his wife suffering from a gunshot wound inside his Tesla in the garage of his home along the 1800 block of Hawkbrook Drive, Luna said.
Simbolon, 42, was heading home from work when he was followed from an electric-vehicle charging station in the 200 block of South Citrus Street in West Covina, Luna said.
“I want to thank the chief, the leadership of the department, our DA George Gascon, all of our leaders and partners who came together for this successful arrest of this suspect,” Bass said at Saturday’s news conference.
Authorities did not elaborate on Powell’s criminal history, or on the weapon he used other than it was a handgun.
This is a developing story. Please check back for more.
Source: Orange County Register