LAPD detectives say the man they are calling the “Western Bandit” was likely responsible for an attempted robbery and a Jan. 8 robbery where a witness was shot and wounded.
“This is a huge concern for us and for the safety of the public,” said Los Angeles police Lt. John Radtke, supervisor of West Bureau homicide detectives.
Radtke said a “signature aspect” of the crimes, which he declined to specify, has led investigators to believe the same man has reappeared for crime sprees three times.
For more than a year, the LAPD says the man has terrorized people and businesses along a six-mile stretch of Western Avenue between Hollywood and South L.A.
“It started about a year ago. We had a flurry of activity. We had several shootings and one that resulted in a homicide,” Radke said.
“Sometime after that, the shootings stopped, but later this summer, the suspect returned,” he said.
The suspect is now linked to a series of armed robberies along Western Avenue, from Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood to Florence Avenue in South L.A.
“What’s disturbing about this suspect is… unfortunately with this guy, he is quick to pull the gun and he is quick to use the gun,” Radke said.
Last November, police say he shot a woman through her car window, grabbed her purse and then fled.
Another victim was shot even after giving the suspect her money, according to police.
Police also say he is responsible in the shooting death of a transgender woman in Hollywood.
The victim was 32-year-old Nathan Vicker, who friend’s say went by the name Cassidy. She was shot and killed last year near the intersection of Gower Street and Lexington Avenue.
“Three of our victims in this series did involve victims from the transgender community,” Radke said.
“We have no evidence to suggest that this guy is specifically targeting people because of their sexual orientation, however we are greatly concerned,” he said.
“People need to be especially vigilant and careful when they’re along Western Avenue during the late night and early morning hours.”
Residents are being urged to be on the lookout for the suspect, who is believed to live in the area and may travel on foot or by bicycle.
“If this person comes up to you and demands property, give it up,” Radke emphasized. “Don’t try to fight him, don’t run from him, becasue you could be in danger.”
The suspect is believed to be between 35 and 40 years old. He is described as a black male, 5’9″ to 6′ tall with a stocky build.
Anyone who has information about him is asked to call the LAPD at 877-LAPD-247 (877-527-3247).