The Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) has arrested a man on suspicion of killing several individuals in both Los Angeles and Santa Monica in recent weeks.
Ramon Escobar, 47 was arrested Monday after he allegedly assaulted a sleeping homeless man near the intersection of 7th and Colorado. The Los Angeles Police Department said Escobar is believed to be responsible for the murder of two men in Los Angeles and the attempted murder of a third in that city.
The Monday incident occurred in the early hours of the day. SMPD received a call for an assault with a deadly weapon 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.”
Santa Monica and Los Angeles police officers will hold a joint news conference Tuesday afternoon to discuss details of the arrest and cases.
Officers said the Monday 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.
“They 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.”
Rodriguez said the common factors in all the cases were people sleeping outside who were attacked with blunt force trauma to the head in the early morning hours. Several of the victims were also robbed.
The Los Angeles Police Department had been 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.”
In that case, two of the three individuals died from their injuries and the third survived.