Mourners Call for ‘Hard Change’ in L.A. During Vigil Honoring Homeless Men Fatally Beaten Downtown
A prayer vigil Thursday afternoon honored the lives of the homeless victims brutally beaten with a baseball bat in downtown Los Angeles, allegedly by a man who now faces capital murder charges.
Mourners gathered near the site where Ramon Esobar, 47, allegedly killed one man and left another seriously injured, and blocks away from where he is being accused of killing a second man on Sept. 16.
Kelvin Williams, 59, and Branden Ridout, 24 were fatally bludgeoned. The third victim, Tievon Harmon, 23, remains on life support.
Church leaders and a police officer spoke at the vigil to honor the three men, especially the two that lost their lives.
“They will never get a chance to discover more of their potential,” said Daniel Perez, pastor of the New City Church of Los Angeles.
Perez explained that homeless people “face struggles that few of us are familiar with.” He says many passerby constantly ignore them, and that the homeless deal with “senseless violence.”
Senior Lead Officer Deon Joseph said there are many people in L.A. who care about the homeless and the issue of homelessness. However, he also knows there are many people who are skeptical about reaching out based out of fear.
“There has to be a hard change,” Joseph said. ” No one should be sleeping on the sidewalk anywhere in the city of Los Angeles.”
Escobar is being accused of attacking eight people, many of whom are homeless.
Investigators say Escobar is believed to be homeless himself, and that his main motive was to rob the victims after brutally beating them. He is being charged with four counts of second-degree robbery, five counts of attempted murder and three counts of murder.
Escobar was deported six times before the beatings. He was also questioned by Houston police as a person of interest in the disappearance of his aunt and uncle before allegedly beginning his deadly crime spree.