(AP) — Police have linked three July stabbings of homeless people in the Los Angeles area to one suspect who left typewritten "death warrant" notes at each crime scene.
The third signed letter was found at a stabbing early Thursday morning in Hollywood and was similar to letters found at two previous stabbings in downtown and Santa Monica, Police Cmdr. Andrew Smith said. Police are asking for the public's help in finding a person of interest.
All three victims are in their 50s and were stabbed in the back in the early morning hours as they slept, Smith said. The victims survived, though one remains hospitalized, police said.
Police are warning homeless people to seek shelter at night and avoid sleeping alone in the streets.
"Any homeless person sleeping anywhere outside is vulnerable tonight — more vulnerable than usual," Smith said.
The first stabbing came July 3 in downtown Los Angeles, and is the only stabbing where a witness saw a suspect fleeing the scene, Smith said.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the victim crawled 100 yards looking for help with a large hunting knife lodged between his shoulder blades.
The second stabbing came Tuesday, when a man was stabbed as he slept on a bench in Santa Monica. A passerby responded to the victim's cry for help and called police, Sgt. Richard Lewis said.
The most recent stabbing on Thursday targeted a woman who was sleeping in the Hollywood area.
The letters left with the victims were all signed "David Ben Keyes," who police have named as a person of interest in their investigation, Smith said.more