A suspect arrested for allegedly assaulting a man Monday in Santa Monica is believed to have also attacked three homeless men in downtown Los Angeles last week, killing two of them, police said, but it’s still unclear if he is connected to the fatal beating of another victim under the Santa Monica Pier.
Ramon Escobar, 47, was booked on suspicion of murder and was being held without bail, according to Officer Mike Lopez of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Media Relations Section.
A news conference was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, when police were expected to release more details about the case.
Shortly before 7 a.m., Santa Monica officers went to the 1500 block of Seventh Street on a report of a male victim with head injuries, Santa Monica Police Department Lt. Saul Rodriguez said in a statement.
“Upon arrival, officers located a male adult victim unconscious and suffering from injuries to the head consistent with blunt force trauma,” and paramedics took the man to a hospital, the lieutenant said. The victim’s condition was unknown as of Monday afternoon.
“As officers searched the area, a possible male suspect was located in the 600 block of Broadway Avenue,” Rodriguez said.
That suspect, later identified as Escobar, was arrested on suspicion of assault and Santa Monica police began coordinating with LAPD detectives to determine if he was connected to the downtown Los Angeles attacks, which police confirmed by late afternoon.
The trio of downtown Los Angeles attacks occurred between 4 and 5 a.m. Sept. 16, and the LAPD later released surveillance video of a man suspected in those beatings, which investigators said were carried out with a baseball bat.
The first attack was at the northwest corner of Fifth and Flower streets, while the second and third happened on the south side of Wilshire Boulevard, just east of Flower Street, LAPD Capt. William Hayes said.
All three victims were attacked while they slept, and the suspect went through their belongings before leaving the scene, Hayes said. Police confirmed last week that two of the victims had died while the third was critically injured.
About 6:30 a.m. last Thursday, 39-year-old Steven Cruze Jr. of San Gabriel was found fatally beaten beneath the Santa Monica Pier. Police have not yet determined if Escobar is linked to that attack.
Although Cruze was initially described by authorities as homeless, his family said that was not the case.
His father, Steven Cruze Sr., told reporters his son sometimes slept under the pier before going to work.
“He had a membership with a gym so could get up in the morning, go take a shower and go to work,” the elder Cruz said. “He knows so many people on this pier, he felt safe.”
Los Angeles police last week released surveillance video of a suspect in the downtown attacks, noting that the suspect walked with a distinctively bow-legged gait.