Police believe a man may have been killed outside Providence Saint John’s Health Center early Friday morning after a security guard discovered a body slumped over on a bench.  The security guard first alerted hospital staff to the body around 6:45 a.m., who determined the man was dead, according to a news release from Lt. Saul Rodriguez with the Santa Monica Police Department.

Detectives say the man suffered a blunt force injury to his upper torso. The victim is only described as a white man in his 40’s, pending identification from the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office.

“It appears suspicious in nature and we are treating it as a homicide,” Lt. Rodriguez said. “We think it happened here.”

Late into the morning Friday, detectives were still interviewing hospital staff and canvassing the area, looking for potential witnesses or security footage.

Staff members accustomed to seeing a fair amount of death and illness in their careers were stunned by the discovery of a body on campus.

“We were deeply saddened to learn a body was discovered this morning on the Providence Saint John’s Health Center campus,” spokesperson Patricia Aidem said in a statement to the Daily Press. “We are working with Santa Monica Police, and are asking our employees and the public to report to the police anything noteworthy they may have observed in the area over the last 12 hours.”

The campus is patrolled by a 24-hour private security service.

kate@smdp.com

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