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Two Murder Counts for Suspect in Sleeping Homeless Killings ~ Police Seek to Link Him to Spate of Recent Baseball Bat Attacks

Via police.

[dropcap size=big]S[/dropcap]anta Monica Police on Monday morning captured a man suspected of beating to death two homeless men in downtown Los Angeles, while a third man remains in critical condition.

Police made the arrest after the fourth attack in little more than a week — the suspect was caught on surveillance video after the first beating in downtown L.A. Sep. 16 — and police may still link a fifth attack that occurred under the Santa Monica pier days ago.

Santa Monica Police responded to a call at 6:51 a.m. at the 1500 block of 7th Street where they found a man they believed to be homeless beaten unconscious from injuries to his head. After searching the area, they apprehended a man about a half of a mile of the Santa Monica pier at the 600 block of Broadway, according to SMPD.

“Santa Monica Fire Department Paramedics treated the victim at the scene and transported him to a local hospital for treatment,” Lt. Saul Rodriguez said in the statement.

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The suspect was later identified as Ramon Escobar, 47, by Los Angeles Police who believe him to be the one attacking several homeless men in downtown Los Angeles last week. The LAPD booked Escobar on two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder for setting upon sleepless homeless men in downtown Los Angeles area with a baseball bat or blunt object.

The Los Angeles Police Department has scheduled a news conference for Tuesday afternoon to discuss Escobar’s arrest.

Via police.
Via police.

The attacks on sleeping homeless men occurred in downtown L.A. in the early morning hours of Sep. 16. One of the victims was found unconscious in the 700 block of Wilshire Blvd. and two other victims were found in the area of 5th Street between Flower and Figueroa.

The attacker could have been motivated by simple robbery, because he is thought to have rummaged through the victims’ pockets after severely beating them, according to news reports.

But it is unclear whether the victim in the Monday morning attack in Santa Monica was asleep at the time or if a robbery took place. No weapon was recovered, and it was not clear if a baseball bat was used in Monday’s attack, according to a report by the L.A. Times.

None of the four victims’ identities has been released by authorities. Police have not linked a fifth victim to the other four. Steven Ray Cruze Jr., 39, was beaten to death suffering similar injuries to his head and neck while he slept under the Santa Monica pier, about half of a mile from where police captured Escobar.  

Cruze’s father said he wasn’t homeless at all. Cruze lived with his parents and his son, James, in San Gabriel and graduated from Eagle Rock High School. LAPD have not charged Escobar with killing Cruze, and Santa Monica police have not linked his death to the four other attacks on homeless, as Lt. Rodriguez said in the original statement: “Any link between today’s incident and previous assaults in Santa Monica and Los Angeles has not been confirmed.” At least not for now.

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