The suspect – identified as Jerrid Joseph Powell, 33 – was formally arrested Saturday for the murder of the three unhoused men, who were shot while sleeping alone on a sidewalk or alley, the police chief said from Los Angeles, Michel Moore, in the afternoon. press conference.
Powell was already in custody for the San Dimas homicide that occurred Tuesday night during the subsequent robbery, police said.
In that case, Powell allegedly followed Nicholas Simbolon, 42, an employee of the Los Angeles County Executive Office, from a charging station in West Covina to his home. There, he robbed and shot him, then fled the scene, authorities said.
Fatal shooting suspect allegedly followed man home from West Covina to San Dimas
Suspect in fatal shooting allegedly followed man from West Covina to San Dimas
“During our investigation into our murders, we were able to identify the vehicle that we believe to be connected to all three homicides as the same vehicle that Mr. Powell used in the murder of Mr. Simbolon,” Moore said.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said members of the Beverly Hills Police Department conducted a traffic stop on Powell’s vehicle Wednesday evening and Powell was arrested early Thursday. Luna said his vehicle was found by one of the city’s automatic license plate scanners.
“If we hadn’t entered that tag into the system, this individual that we believe is responsible for at least four murders would have been out there and would have reoffended,” Luna said.
A handgun recovered from Powell’s vehicle was the same weapon used in all three murders, according to Moore.
Timeline of murders
The first homeless killing occurred around 3 a.m. Sunday in the 800 block of West 110th Street, followed by another around 5 a.m. Monday in the 800 block of East Seventh Street, and another at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at South Avenue 18 and South Pasadena. Avenue, Moore said.
“It was scary, and I’ve been doing this work for over four decades,” Moore said. “The cold manner in which he walks up and shoots this individual without any hesitation, without any interaction, and then leaves that place.”
The victim in Sunday’s shooting was 37-year-old Jose Bolanos, according to the county chief and medical examiner. The man killed Monday was Mark Diggs, 62. The victim in Wednesday’s shooting was a 52-year-old man, but his name has been withheld pending notification of next of kin.
On Tuesday, Simbolon was found by his wife inside her Tesla in the home’s garage, suffering from a gunshot wound to the upper body, according to witnesses and sheriff’s officials. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.
The sheriff said there is no known connection between the four murders, nor any known relationship between Powell and Simbolon.
“A killer who preys on the homeless”
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said his team would work on additional charges Monday.
“The residents of Los Angeles County can breathe a sigh of relief today. Once the case is presented, our team will ensure justice is served,” Gascón said.
Authorities said they could not rule out the possibility that Powell committed other crimes.
“Based on his criminal history, he didn’t start doing this a week ago,” Luna said. They urged anyone with relevant information about Powell to contact police or sheriff’s officials.
The killings have spread fear among the city’s vast homeless population, and Bass urged unhoused people to avoid sleeping alone outdoors and instead seek companionship or shelter.
“This news is devastating to our city,” Bass said Friday. “Living on the streets we already know is dangerous. We already know that four to five people die every day on our streets from various causes, and violence is certainly one of them. But I want to be very clear about what we are facing faced today. He is a killer who attacks homeless people.
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority activated its augmented winter shelter program in an effort to provide additional safety to unhoused people, extending the program through Monday evening.
This means that in addition to traditional shelters at fixed sites in the city and elsewhere in Los Angeles County, the program will provide additional interim housing options, typically using motel vouchers.
ABC News and City News Service contributed to this report.