Cops: Killer Is Targeting San Diego's Homeless

City on edge after 2 killed, 1 gravely injured
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2016 3:01 AM CDT
Cops: Killer Is Targeting San Diego's Homeless
Police released surveillance video of the suspect.   (San Diego Police Department.)

A murder early on Sunday appears to have been the start of a sickening rampage targeting homeless people in San Diego, police say. Investigators believe the same suspect is behind at least two murders and a third attack that left a homeless man fighting for his life, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The first victim was found ablaze under a freeway bridge, and police say an autopsy revealed "trauma to his upper torso" that probably killed the man before he was set on fire. Within hours, the other two victims were found, one dead and one with life-threatening injuries. All of the victims suffered similar trauma to the upper torso, and San Diego homicide Capt. David Nisleit says there is no doubt in his mind "that these cases are being conducted by the same person."

Police released this video of a suspect they believe is connected to the three attacks. He was caught on video at a convenience store near the site of the first attack, and witnesses say they saw him running across Interstate 5 carrying a gas can. Police and community organizations have been working to warn homeless people of the danger and urge them to sleep in groups. "We were talking to folks, and there's a lot of scared folks out there. This is [as] extreme as it gets," Bob McElroy, president of the Alpha Project nonprofit, tells KPBS. "I've been doing this 30 years, and I've never seen something this extremely savage, so people are scared." (More San Diego stories.)

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