A man accused of fatally bludgeoning two sleeping homeless men and critically injuring a third in downtown Los Angeles last week has been arrested in connection with a fourth assault in Santa Monica, police said Monday.
The arrest of 47-year-old Ramon Escobar comes after five men were brutally beaten over the head across L.A. County in the last week, resulting in at least three deaths.
The L.A. Police Department said in a news release that its detectives were contacted by Santa Monica police after Escobar was taken into custody in connection with an assault there.
Escobar was arrested about two blocks away from where a man was beaten unconscious Monday morning along the 1500 block of Seventh Street, Santa Monica Police Lt. Saul Rodriguez told the L.A. Times.
It’s still unclear whether Escobar is also being linked to the fatal beating 39-year-old Steven Cruze Jr., who was found dead beneath the pier last Thursday.
Although police initially described Cruze as homeless, his family said the father of two worked on charter and whale-watching boats. He would often stay at the beach after to fish, and sometimes chose to sleep in a hammock on the beach.
“If it got a little too late for him, the drive home into San Gabriel, he would throw his hammock up underneath the pier and he would sleep,” his aunt, Christine Arias, told KTLA.
His death has left a void in family members’ hearts, Arias said. Loved ones have set up a GoFundMe campaign to help raise money for his memorial.
Escobar is also wanted for questioning in the disappearance of two of his relatives in Texas, Houston police told the Times.
LAPD has scheduled a Tuesday afternoon press conference where they plan to release further details on their case.
Investigators believe Escobar is the bow-legged man captured on surveillance video as he targeted three men sleeping on the street in downtown L.A. last Sunday, Sept. 16.
In each case, the victim was struck repeatedly over the head and shoulders. The assailant would then rifle through their belongings in search of anything of value, detectives said.
The victims in those attacks were all black men, ages 59, 24 and 23.
Two of the men died four days later, but police have not specified which. The third victim remains on life support, authorities said.