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Assault Victim Found Unconscious in Santa Monica Days After Fatal Beating Under Pier; Man Arrested Also Accused in L.A. Killings

An arrest has been made in an assault that left a man injured in Santa Monica on Monday morning, and authorities believe the attack is linked to a series of recent beatings in L.A. County.

Shortly before 7 a.m., officers responded to the 1500 block of Seventh Street after receiving a call regarding a man suffering from head trauma, according to a Santa Monica Police Department news release.

Officers found the victim unconscious and with head injuries "consistent with blunt force trauma," the release stated.

Paramedics treated the man at the scene before taking him to a local hospital, where he was listed in serious condition.

While searching the area, police located a possible suspect in the 600 block of Broadway Avenue, according to the release. The man was arrested in connection with the assault after detectives conducted a preliminary investigation.

The assault took place four days after a man's body was discovered under the Santa Monica Pier, less than a mile away from where the victim in Monday's attack was found.

The first Santa Monica victim was found with some type of blunt force injury to the head around 6:40 a.m. Thursday, according to police. The county coroner's office has identified him as Steven Cruze Jr., 39.

Cruze's aunt Christine Arias told KTLA he had chosen to sleep under the pier after a fishing trip and was not homeless, as police had initially said. Loved ones have set up a GoFundMe campaign to help raise money for his memorial.

Santa Monica investigators said they could not immediately link those two incidents.

But later on Monday, Los Angeles police said 47-year-old Ramon Escobar was arrested in connection with the beating of three men who were struck over the head with a baseball bat in downtown L.A. Two of the victims later died.

LAPD said Escobar was identified as the suspect after he was arrested in connection with a separate assault in Santa Monica, and Santa Monica Police Lt. Saul Rodriguez confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that it was Monday's incident.

Investigators have not yet commented on whether they believe Escobar is also linked to Cruze's death.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Leone at 310-458-8943, Detective Goodwin at 310-458-8942 or Santa Monica police at 310-458-8491.