LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Police in Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Hollywood announced Thursday that they were seeking a person of interest in the non-fatal stabbings of three homeless people who were each attacked while they slept.
They believe the person of interest is also a homeless man.
In the attacks, police said typed and signed “death warrants” were left behind.
In the first attack, reported July 3, a 56-year-old homeless man was found wounded near the intersection of Main and Third streets.
“In this case, and in only this case, a suspect was seen fleeing from the area,” LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith told reporters at a late afternoon news conference. “He’s been described as a thin, slender, male African American.”
The victim had a large “hunting-type” knife protruding from his back, and police told the Los Angeles Times that a typed “death warrant” signed by the attacker had been left at the scene.
A second homeless man was stabbed Tuesday, near the Third Street Promenade. The attacker left another signed note.
The most recent victim was a 54-year-old homeless woman. She was stabbed in the back while she slept Thursday near La Brea and De Longpre avenues, police said. The Times reported that authorities recovered a black kitchen knife and another signed “death warrant” at the scene.
Police said they are looking for Courtney Anthony Robinson, who also goes by the alias of David Ben Keyes, as their person of interest. Robinson reportedly moved to the Los Angeles-area from Santa Barbara.
The notes left behind by the attacker were signed with that name, police confirmed.
Smith urged homeless individuals to be careful.
“If possible, get yourself into a shelter. Get somewhere where you can be protected,” he said. “We know that homeless people are vulnerable, they’re some of the most vulnerable people in our society. But it’s even worse when there’s an individual out like this who’s conducting these random acts of violence against homeless individuals.”
Carter Evans, reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, spoke to some homeless people who said finding shelter isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Jose Hernandez told him, “The shelters have a schedule. You have to be there before 6. And get up at 5.”
He and his wife have decided to sleep in shifts to stay safe. “We take turns, me and my wife when we go to sleep.”
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