The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) caught a serial killer targeting homeless people, authorities announced Saturday.
Three homeless men were shot to death between Sunday and Wednesday, according to a news release. Two of the victims were Hispanic, and the other was Black. Photos of a possible suspect and a vehicle that belonged to the suspect were included in the initial press release.
The Beverly Hills Police Department (BHPD) conducted a traffic stop Thursday on a gray BMW that was “wanted in connection to a robbery-murder that occurred in the City of San Dimas,” per a press release.
During the traffic stop, officers arrested Jerrid Joseph Powell, 33, the wanted suspect in the case. A firearm was recovered during the search of his vehicle, police said.
Ballistic examination determined the gun was connected to the three murders of homeless people, the release noted. Powell is in custody pending the filing of criminal charges.
LAPD News: Update Murders Involving Persons Experiencing Homelessness pic.twitter.com/9kV6013CTY
— LAPD PIO (@LAPDPIO) December 2, 2023
Each of the murders occurred early in the morning in a different part of the city, Chief Michael Moore noted in a press conference. The three victims were shot while sleeping alone in open areas. Police were looking into other unsolved cases of homeless people killed in similar circumstances. (RELATED: San Francisco Cleans Up Homeless Encampments Just In Time For Chinese President’s Visit: REPORT).
Karen Bass, the Mayor of Los Angeles, advised homeless people to be on alert while the investigation was ongoing, “Our message to our unhoused community is clear — try not to be alone tonight,” she said, per the news release. “We will do all we can to make shelter and services available.”
Los Angeles has struggled to address its homeless problem. The city spends over $1 billion annually addressing the issue, but homelessness has increased 10 percent over the last year, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.
Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that California has set aside about $300 million for local jurisdictions across the state to help clear homeless encampments, per a news release.
“Since day one, combatting homelessness has been a top priority. Encampments are not safe for the people living in them, or for community members around them,” Newsom said in the release. “The state is giving locals hundreds of millions of dollars to move people into housing and clean up these persistent and dangerous encampments.”