Three homeless have been stabbed in the back by a mystery would-be killer in Los Angeles over the past month.
The attacks have all been non-fatal, and each attack has been accompanied by rambling letters titled “death warrants,” according to Newser. The attacks have prompted the LAPD to warn the city’s homeless to stay inside, or to stay in groups.
According to the LA Times, the attacks have all been non-fatal and involved middle-aged homeless individuals. The first attack came on July 3; a 56-year-old homeless man was found in downtown Los Angeles with a “hunting type” knife in his back, after having crawled 1000 yards seeking help. The second came Tuesday, when another man was stabbed while sleeping on a bus bench. And in the third, on Thursday, a black kitchen knife was used to stab a 54-year-old woman who was also asleep.
So far all three accompanying “death warrants” have contained the name David Ben Keyes, who the police have described as a “person of interest” in the case. The warrants are typewritten and contained “rambling commentaries,” though the police have yet to reveal any further details. Police have been careful to note that the use of Keyes’s name does not necessarily indicate his involvement in the crimes; it is possible someone else is using the name.
Keyes has actually been missing from the Santa Barbara area for several weeks now, and is being sought for questioning by the LAPD’s Robbery-Homicide Division.
As noted above, police are urging the homeless to stay in groups or off the streets. LAPD Captain Billy Hayes said that “with numbers, there is safety,” at a recent news conference. LAPD Commander Andrew Smith advised homeless to “…get somewhere where you can be protected. Please do what you can to get into a shelter and be safe.”