The Los Angeles Police Department announced Saturday that a suspect has been identified in connection with the killings of three homeless men this week.
The suspect, Jerrid Joseph Powell, 33, was already in custody after being arrested in another killing.
Powell was arrested Thursday and accused of shooting and killing a San Dimas father of two during a follow-home robbery on Tuesday.
Police Chief Michel Moore said Saturday that they were able to match Powell’s car, seen in surveillance footage from the Tuesday killing, to the car they had identified as being driven by the suspect responsible for the killings of the three homeless people.
A handgun found in that car also matched the weapon used in the three homeless killings, police said.
Powell was arrested early Thursday in Beverly Hills. Detectives identified the license plate on his car from surveillance footage collected at the Tuesday killing and arrested him in a traffic stop.
Three sleeping homeless people were killed in L.A. this week and police had been searching for the gunman responsible before connecting Powell to the crimes.
Police had believed that the same person was responsible for all three deaths.
The three separate attacks took place in the early hours of Sunday, Monday and Wednesday, Moore said Friday.
All three people killed are men. The victims were all asleep in open areas — like alleys or sidewalks — when they were shot and killed, Moore said.
All three killings happened in different places in two large areas of L.A. which are not frequented by large numbers of homeless people, Moore said.
District Attorney George Gascón said there will be an emergency shelter available for homeless people tonight.
Mayor Karen Bass cautioned Friday that no homeless person should sleep alone as the search for the gunman continued and said the city would be opening emergency shelters to house homeless people for the time being.
“Our message to the unhoused community is clear: Do not sleep alone tonight,” Bass said at the Friday news conference. “Seek shelter, seek services, stay together.”
Powell was jailed Thursday in the death of Nicholas Simbolon, 42, who was found dead in his garage in San Dimas on Tuesday night.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said Thursday that it appeared the suspect followed Simbolon 12 miles from an electric vehicle charging station to his home. The suspect robbed Simbolon of “some personal belongings” before shooting him and fleeing the scene, Luna said.
Simbolan was a county employee for seven years. He’d worked as a business systems analyst for the superior court and in 2019 joined the IT staff of the Chief Executive Office as a principal systems analyst, officials said.
“He was a prolific developer who had recently completed an innovative IT system to process our county’s budget process,” Kathyrn Barger with the county Board of Supervisors said in a statement read at a news conference Thursday announcing Powell’s arrest. “His coworkers describe him as kind, gentle and hardworking person.”
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
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