The city of Santa Monica and other parties were again named as defendants Friday in the second of two lawsuits filed this week in connection with the death of a fisherman who was slain while sleeping in a hammock under the Santa Monica Pier nearly a year ago.
The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit filed on behalf of the victim’s parents additionally names the Santa Monica Pier Corp., the city of Los Angeles and the state of California, alleging negligence, premises liability and dangerous condition of property in connection with the Sept. 20 death of their son, 39-year-old Steven Ray Cruze Jr. of San Gabriel.
Cruze slept under the pier to avoid driving home at night, according to both suits.
The plaintiffs in the new case are Steven Ray Cruze Sr. and his wife, Debra Lee Cruze. A similar suit was filed Thursday on behalf of their minor grandson, identified only as J.C.
Both suits allege the defendants regularly allow overcrowding on the pier and provide inadequate security.
A Santa Monica representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A mental competency hearing is scheduled Oct. 17 for Cruze’s alleged killer, Ramon Escobar. The 47-year-old defendant is charged in a series of attacks in Los Angeles and Santa Monica that left a total of four men dead and eight other people injured — some of whom were homeless.
He is charged with four counts of murder, eight counts of attempted murder and six counts of second-degree robbery stemming from his alleged crime spree between Sept. 8 and Sept. 24 last year.
The criminal complaint alleges that Escobar, who was arrested by Los Angeles police in Santa Monica last Sept. 24, used a baseball bat or blunt object during all but two of the crimes.
Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Billy Hayes said last year that the attacks did not appear to be based on any hatred toward homeless people.
“I think it was a crime of opportunity,” he said. “… It appears the motive in most of these cases was robbery.”
The police captain said Escobar was homeless himself, having recently arrived in the area from Texas. He said Escobar arrived in the Southland less than a week before the attacks began.
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