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National Review
National Review
2 Dec 2023
Ari Blaff

NextImg:‘Do Not Sleep Alone’: L.A. Mayor Warns of Shooter Stalking Homeless People

Three homeless people were shot dead in Los Angeles in recent days and the suspect is still on the loose.

“This is a killer preying on the unhoused,” Mayor Karen Bass said following the news. “To the person responsible for this, I say this: We will find you, we will catch you, and you will be held accountable.”

“The message for the night is, ‘Do not sleep alone,’” the Democratic politician emphasized.

The homicides occurred Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday of last week, but local law enforcement has yet to identify a suspect, leading city officials to encourage homeless people to seek shelter. “Each one was shot and killed as they slept,” LAPD police chief Michel Moore said.

There are nearly 50,000 homeless people in Los Angeles, a figure which grew by ten percent in the last year alone, of whom, nearly three-quarters remain unsheltered. “Homelessness is so widespread that it is making it easier for these people to commit these crimes,” Mel Tillekeratne, the director of a local non-profit focused on helping homeless people, told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s not a coincidence that this is possibly two serial killers in a four-year span.”

The spate of attacks has left Va Lecia Adams Kellum, the leader of the city’s homeless services authority, “horrified by these senseless acts of violence.” The official underscored that she was working with partners “to help as many of our unsheltered neighbors as possible sleep safely by making additional resources available and focusing outreach efforts on vulnerable individuals.”

“We urge our unsheltered neighbors to stay together, go inside to shelter, and if you are staying on the street tonight, please don’t sleep alone,” Kellum noted, echoing the mayor’s comments.

The attacks are reminiscent of a string of assaults targeting Houston’s homeless community in 2018 when Ramon Escobar beat seven people with a baseball bat over a nearly three-week period. Four victims eventually died of their wounds, with three more left in serious condition.

On Friday, one person was killed and several wounded during a shooting at a homeless encampment in Las Vegas. Its proximity to Los Angeles, a mere four-hour drive east of the city, led a reporter to ask whether the incidents were connected. “This is quite a bit different than that scenario, so I am not inclined to say that it is related, but if our investigation takes us that route, we will go there, but we are not there right now,” Jason Johannson, a representative of Las Vegas metropolitan police, told a local CBS affiliate.