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Yorba Linda Man, 23, Accused As Slayer Of 4 Homeless Men

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ANAHEIM (CBS) —  Police Saturday announced that they have arrested a suspect in the murder of four homeless men in Orange County.

At a press conference Saturday, police said 23-year-old Itzcoatl Ocampo of Yorba Linda would be charged with all four murders.

Ocampo was arrested Friday night after allegedly murdering a Vietnam veteran named John Berry. Berry was well known to the community and well liked, several people told KCAL9’s Stacey Butler.

Good Samaritans allegedly followed Ocampo and gave police information that led to the arrest. Witnesses followed Ocampo for a quarter mile before police detained him.

“We are extremely confident that we have the man who is responsible for all four murders of homeless men in Orange County,” Anaheim Police Chief John Welter said.

Police did not say if Ocampo confessed but they said there were many similarities in the four slayings to lead them to believe only one suspect was responsible for all the crimes.

Kristine Lazar, reporting for KCAL9 and CBS2, said Ocampo is “a former Marine who has been unable to find work.”

She also reported the man lived with his mother in a rental property.

Police have not offered a motive for the slayings. At a vigil for the victims — so heavily attended it spilled out into the streets and blocked the Carl’s Jr. drive-in  — Lazar spoke to many friends of the final victim. They described him as a quiet man who often turned down financial help or handouts.

He also turned down a place to stay. Said one woman, “He would say he was fine. He would stay under the light.” Another woman said, “He told me he was okay where he was. He felt safe.” But John Berry also believed he had been followed for several days suggesting the killer targeted him.

Each victim was stabbed multiple times, said authorities.

Anaheim Deputy Chief Craig Hunter said Ocampo fits the description of the man wanted for three stabbing deaths — in Anaheim, Placentia and Yorba Linda — dating to Dec. 20.

The first homeless man stabbed to death was 53-year-old James McGillivray, attacked as he slept outside a Placentia shopping center. Eight days later, the body of Lloyd Middaugh, 42, was discovered on Anaheim’s Santa Ana River Trail. On Dec. 30, 57-year-old Paulus Cornelius Smit was found dead behind the Yorba Linda library.

Police believed the killer was particularly brazen because Smit was apparently killed in broad daylight.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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