The Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) has arrested a suspect in connection with an early morning assault with a deadly weapon at Colorado and 7th that bears striking similarities to a series of recent assaults in Santa Monica and Los Angeles.

The Monday assault occurred in the early hours of the day and details are sparse. SMPD received the call at about 6:51 a.m. and found a victim suffering from blunt force trauma to the head. The victim survived the initial attack was taken to a local hospital.

“As officers searched the area, a possible male suspect was located in the 600 block of Broadway Avenue,” said a release by SMPD. “Following a preliminary investigation by SMPD Detectives, the suspect has been placed under arrest for this morning’s assault. The suspect remains in police custody pending booking and further investigation.”

The suspect has yet to be charged and additional information including the suspect’s name will not be released until charges have been recommended by detectives.

Officers said the incident has similarities to several recent assaults, including the murder of Steven Cruze Jr. who was killed last week while sleeping under the Santa Monica Pier.

Cruze was not homeless but was known to sleep on the beach after fishing trips before making the commute to his job. Investigators had initially thought Cruze was homeless but the father of two lived in San Gabriel.

Cruze died from his injuries on Sep. 20 but Lt. Saul Rodriguez said two other victims survived similar assaults earlier this month. According to Rodriguez, two victims suffered blunt force trauma to the head in separate incidents on Sept. 8 and Sept. 10. Both were sleeping outside and in one case, the victim’s belongings were moved to a different location.

“There were both homeless or unsheltered individuals that were attacked in their sleep,” he said. “One is out of the hospital but the other is still in hospital. We’re not certain if the three, the two from Sept. 8 and Sept. 10, and the homicide from Thursday are connected.”

While SMPD has not officially linked all four cases, Rodriguez said there are common factors including people sleeping outside who are attacked with blunt force trauma to the head in the early morning hours.

Rodriguez said it was not yet known if the victim in Monday’s assault was asleep at the time of the attack. However, officers hope to find surveillance video from the attack that will provide more clues.

The Los Angeles Police Department is also investigating a similar series of assaults.

According to LAPD, officers responded to an assault with a deadly weapon call on Sept. 16 and eventually located three victims.

“The suspect was captured on surveillance video and is described as a male White or Hispanic wearing a blue hat, grey sweatshirt, black shorts and bright white tennis shoes. Suspect also appears to have dark bushy hair,” said LAPD.
“The suspect beat the victims with a baseball bat and went through the victims’ pockets, taking property. The suspect was last seen leaving the area on foot. The suspect and baseball bat are still outstanding.”

Los Angeles officers said they are aware of the Santa Monica incidents and while the two departments are sharing information, neither department has officially linked its assaults to the others.

Anyone with information about the Los Angeles case is asked to contact Robbery-Homicide Division, Detectives Daryn Dupree or David Holmes or Laura Evens, at (213) 486-6860, or Contact Real Time Analysis and Critical Response Division at (213) 484-6700.

Anyone with information about the Santa Monica case is encouraged to call Detective Leone at (310) 458-8943; Detective Goodwin at (310) 458-8942; or the Santa Monica Police Department at (310) 458- 8491.

editor@smdp.com

Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall has a Masters Degree in International Journalism from City University in London and has been Editor-in-Chief of SMDP since 2014. Prior to working at SMDP he managed a chain of weekly papers...

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