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Suspect arrested in murder of three homeless people in Los Angeles

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A suspect was arrested early Saturday in connection with a series of shootings that left three homeless people dead in Los Angeles last week, authorities said.

Suspect Jerrid Joseph Powell, 33, is also believed to be responsible for another murder during a home invasion in San Dimas, Police Chief Michel Moore said at a news conference in the afternoon at which he was joined by Mayor Karen Bass and Dist. Atty. Georges Gascon.

The arrest came less than 24 hours after city officials announced a killer was “preying on unhoused people” during a news conference Friday. Moore said each victim was shot while they were sleeping or about to lie down.

Authorities said the first shooting occurred at 3:10 a.m. Nov. 26 in South Los Angeles, when Jose Bolanos, 37, was found dead in an alley near 110th Street and Vermont Avenue.

About 24 hours later, Mark Diggs, 62, was shot to death in the 600 block of Mateo Street in the Arts District. Diggs was pushing a shopping cart and had stopped to plug in his phone, according to Moore, who said the victim was about to fall asleep when the attacker opened fire.

The third shooting occurred around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday near the intersection of 18 Avenue and Pasadena Avenue in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood, where the body of a 52-year-old Latino man was discovered. Police have not yet released the man’s identity, pending notification of his family.

The shootings came to light the same day a gunman shot five homeless people under a Las Vegas freeway overpass, authorities said. One man died from his injuries and another was in critical condition. The other victims are considered stable, police said.

The shooter in Friday’s shooting remains at large.

In Los Angeles, Moore said it appeared the shooter was attacking homeless people isolated from groups. In an emergency meeting with outreach coordinators and service providers Friday afternoon, LAPD officials urged unhoused people in the area to seek shelter for the night or at least stay in groups until the killer is arrested.

“The message for the night is, ‘Don’t sleep alone,'” LAPD Deputy Chief Emada Tingirides said.

Times Staff Writer Richard Winton and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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