The man being held on suspicion of attacking a number people who were sleeping outside in Southern California had been deported at least six times. Three men are dead after being bludgeoned in the head while four more are hospitalised in serious condition after being attacked by a blunt weapon, suspected to be a baseball bat.
Ramon Escobar is under custody as the main suspect and could be charged on Wednesday with murder and attempted murder after being arrested following the latest incident where a man sitting near a road was hit and robbed of his persona property. Police have also retrieved a baseball bat and bolt cutters, believed to be weapons used in the attacks. He was also caught on surveillance cameras rummaging through victims’ pockets and belongings.
According to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Escobar has been deported from the US six times to his native El Salvador beginning in 1988 up to 2011. He has also been convicted six times for felonies ranging from robbery, trespassing, assault to illegal re-entry.
The 47-year-old is also a person of interest in the disappearance of relatives who vanished in August. Rogelio Escobar,65, was last seen in Houston and his sister’s Dina Escobar whereabouts also remain unknown after she left her home to look for her brother. Dina Escobar’s vehicle, a Chevy Uplander was found burnt some kilometres outside Houston. The two are Ramon’s uncle and aunt.
Los Angeles police chief described Ramon as a “violent predator” who stalked and viciously assaulted helpless victims since arriving from Houston following the disappearance of his relatives. The attacks created panic in the already vulnerable homeless community whose members had earlier reported sighting a suspicious man who fit Ramon’s description. One of the victims, Steven Ray Cruze, 39, has been reported as not being homeless with family members stating he preferred to sleep outside after spending nights fishing. His body was found under a pier with major trauma injuries to the head.
Another relative, Ligia Salamanca who is the missing Dina Escobar’s daughter, said she hadn’t noticed any violent traits in Ramon and that he was on good terms with her mother. Ramon is being held without bail as he awaits trial.