Anthony Alexander Padgett has been accused in a series of horrendous killings and attacks on homeless men in San Diego. Padgett was arrested Thursday and was charged with three counts of murder and of one attempted murder. Anthony Padgett is accused of beating and setting the men on fire but was released by San Diego police for insufficient evidence.
According to San Diego County District Attorney’s office announced that Anthony Padgett was being released from jail. With Padgett being released, there is new call for information about the attacks from the public.
Padgett became a suspect when police thought he looked like the man seen in a surveillance video buying gasoline at a convenience store, the same day the first victim was found.
San Diego police Chief Shelley Zimmerman stated, “I want everyone to know that this series against our homeless is the highest priority for our police department.These evil acts of violence are some of the worst that I have seen in my 34 years in law enforcement,” Zimmerman said. “This killer has targeted some of our city’s most vulnerable citizens while they are asleep,” according to NBC news.
The first victim found was Angelo De Nardo, 53 years- old. De Nardo’s body was found Sunday morning in the Bay Park area. According to NBC 7, De Nardo had been beaten and set on fire.
On Monday, in the same area, two homeless men were found in separate incidences. The first person on Monday to be found and second homeless man attacked, Manuel Mason, 61, was found slashed up by a jogger. The jogger immediately sought out a police officer. The man was taken to the hospital with life threatening injuries. The man to appear to be sleeping when he was attacked, via, FOX 5.
Also on Monday, Shawn Longley, 41 years- old, was found dead. Linda Gramlick, mother of Shawn Longley talked to FOX 13 about her son. Linda Gramlick stated, “He liked being in different areas and doing different things, because he’d get so bored so fast.” Shawn Longley had only been in San Diego six months before he was murdered. Linda Gramlick contained to say, “Just because you’re homeless, that’s no reason to be made fun of, attacked, and especially not killed.” “I’ll never be able to hug him and tell him I love him,” she said.
Dionicio Derek Validity, 23,was the fourth victim found Wednesday in the same area as the other victims. Validity had been attacked and set on fire. According to family and friends of Validity, he was a University High graduate with the class of 2012 and went to Mesa College. Chelsea Lacy, a friend of Validity said, “he was so sweet and so nice, at least we could have done something to get him off of the streets to make things better for him,” reported by NBC 7.
Anthony Alexander Padgett is no stranger to law enforcement. Padgett served time in prison for a 2010 for setting a homeless man, Sydney Moreno, 49, on fire while he was asleep at in a supermarket parking lot in the San Diego. Moreno was burned over 25 percent of his body. Padgett served four years for the crime.
There are an estimated 800 homeless people who are living in the streets and 8,742 homeless people in San Diego, with just over half in shelters, according to the Regional Task Force on the Homeless.
In the wake of homeless people being murdered, people who are sleeping in the streets are being advised to stay together in groups at night and to watch out for each other.
The San Diego police and law enforcement agencies are working endlessly to find the serial killer.
[Photo by David McNew/Newsmakers]