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'Killer preying on the unhoused': LA police seek suspect after 3 men found dead

'Killer preying on the unhoused': LA police seek suspect after 3 men found dead

(KTLA) – Los Angeles authorities are asking for the public's help in finding the person who has allegedly killed at least three homeless people in different parts of the city.

The Los Angeles Police Department, Mayor Karen Bass, District Attorney George Gascón and federal officials gathered Friday afternoon to discuss the crimes for the very first time.

From Nov. 26 through Nov. 29, three men have been found dead, all under similar circumstances, according to LAPD Chief Michel Moore.

"A single individual approached each one and shot and killed each one as they slept," Moore said.

Each of the three killings happened in the early morning, all before 5 a.m.

The first happened on Nov. 26, around 3:10 a.m. near the intersection of 110th Street and Vermont Avenue in the Westmont neighborhood.

The second happened the following day in downtown Los Angeles on the 600 block of Mateo Street. Police discovered that victim around 4:45 a.m.

The most-recent known killing happened on Nov. 29 around 2:30 a.m. near the intersection of N. Avenue 18 and Pasadena Avenue in Lincoln Heights.

Though the police chief declined to use the term "serial killer," Bass was slightly more forceful in her description of the murders.

"I want to be very clear about what we're facing today: This is a killer who is preying on the unhoused," Bass said, adding that homeless people should not sleep alone.

Bass encouraged any friends or relatives of homeless people to reach out and warn them of the danger and encourage them to sleep at a shelter and not alone in an isolated area. She also promised to the city's most vulnerable citizens that justice would come.

"To the person responsible: We will find you, we will catch you and you will be held accountable," Bass said.

"An assault on one of us is an assault on all of us," Gascón added.

A task force has been set up to solve these murders, and its members will be working 24/7 "until further notice," Moore said.

Police are also encouraging unhoused citizens to make sure their cellphones are charged and in working condition and to record or take note of any suspicious activity.

Police have spotted who they believe the shooter is on surveillance footage — Moore said they believe it's a man in a hoodie — and they also have images of the suspect's vehicle, though Moore would not describe it in an effort to avoid misinformation.

"People will see different types of cars, different types of models," he said. "I don't want someone to say 'You called this a Kia and it turns out to be a BMW or Mercedes," he said.

If you believe you can identify the person or vehicle used, or if you have other information on the killings, you are urged to call 213-486-6890. Anonymous tips can be submitted online or by calling 1-800-222-8477.