Two of the three homeless men who were severely beaten by a bat-wielding assailant as they slept on the street in downtown Los Angeles this week have died as a result of their injuries, police said Thursday.
The men had been in critical condition after being repeatedly struck on the head and shoulders by another man before dawn on Sunday. The attacker then proceeded to pull back their bedding to rifle through their pockets and other property for items of value, L.A. Police Capt. William Hayes said in a Monday press conference.
The victims' head trauma was so severe they likely never regained consciousness, Hayes said.
"None of the victims have been conscious nor able to provide us with information related to the attacks," the captain said. "The victims appear to never have awakened or regained consciousness since the attacks."
Officials could not provide an update on the third victim's condition on Thursday.
The attacker had first targeted a man sleeping in a stairwell outside a building on the northwest corner of Fifth and Flower streets around 4 a.m. The victim in that incident was a 59-year-old black man, Hayes said.
The second two victims were sleeping near one another in an alcove outside another building not far away, on the south side of Wilshire Boulevard just east of Flower, and assaulted around 4:30 a.m. Those victims were also black men, ages 23 and 24, according to police.
Authorities could not provide information on which of the victims have since died.
The men were discovered by separate security guards checking the perimeters of buildings where they slept.
Although four other homeless individuals were sleeping near the victims on Wilshire, they were not awoken by the attacks and unable to provide information to investigators, Hayes said. No other witnesses have been found.
Police are still searching for the perpetrator captured on surveillance video, who Hayes describes as a "violent predator." Because the man was seen sifting through multiple trash cans for alcohol bottles, and was only seen on foot, authorities suspect he is homeless as well.
His motive is believed to be robbery, the captain said.
Although police only released portions of the video on Monday due to its graphic nature and the ongoing investigation, Hayes said detectives have footage of the entire ordeal.
Investigators are also looking into whether the incidents are related to a fourth attack on a sleeping homeless man on Thursday. In that case, the victim was found dead from a blunt-force injury beneath the Santa Monica Pier.
Police describe the suspect as a Hispanic or white man in his 30s with medium height and build and dark, black hair. He was wearing a grey sweatshirt with dark cargo pants, white shoes and a blue baseball cap at the time of the assaults.
But officials said his most distinctive feature is his extremely bow-legged gait.
Anyone with information can contact detectives Dave Holmes or Daryn Dupree at 213-486-6890.