LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Two of three homeless men who were brutally beaten in downtown Los Angeles last weekend have died, as authorities investigate whether those attacks are connected to the murder of a 39-year-old homeless man in Santa Monica Thursday morning.
One of the men passed away Tuesday and the other on Thursday at local hospitals, Los Angeles police report. All three had been unconscious since the attacks. At last report, the third victim was in critical condition. No names were immediately released.
At around 4 a.m. Sunday, one of the victims was assaulted on the corner of 5th and Flower streets while sleeping in a stairwell. Around 30 minutes later, the two other victims were attacked a couple blocks away while sleeping in an alcove and handicapped ramp in the area of Wilshire Boulevard and Flower Street.
In all three cases, the suspect beat the men in the head and shoulders with a baseball bat, Los Angeles police said. He then went through their pockets and stole property.
“The assailant viciously attacked the victims while they were sleeping, striking them repeatedly with a baseball bat about the head and shoulders,” Capt. William Hayes said at a news conference Monday.
The motive was believed to be robbery.
“I think we’re looking at people that are just isolated, and he’s trying to find some property of value, possibly money,” Hayes said.
Surveillance video of the suspect has been released. He is described as a white or Hispanic man, 30 to 40 years old with bowed legs and a distinctive gait.
Police said the victims were all black and ages 23, 24 and 59.
At about 6:40 a.m. Thursday, a homeless man was found murdered under the Santa Monica Pier by city workers. According to Santa Monica police, the victim had head injuries consistent with being struck with a blunt object. He was later identified by the L.A. County coroner’s office as 39-year-old Steven Cruze Jr. of San Gabriel.
Both Santa Monica and Los Angeles police told CBS2 investigators are unsure if the Santa Monica attack is linked to the first three.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)