Arrest made in killings of 3 Los Angeles homeless men, police say; suspect tied to 4th murder

ByMeredith Deliso and Alex Stone ABCNews logo
Sunday, December 3, 2023
Suspect in custody after 3 fatal shootings of homeless people: LAPD
Police Chief Michel Moore announced that a suspect has been arrested in the murders of three homeless men in Los Angeles this week.

LOS ANGELES -- Four fatal shootings that occurred in the Los Angeles area this week -- including the unprovoked killings of three men who were all experiencing homelessness -- have been linked to one suspect, police said.

The suspect -- identified as Jerrid Joseph Powell, 33 -- was arrested in the killings of the three unhoused men, who were shot while sleeping alone on a sidewalk or an alley in Los Angeles, police said Saturday.

Powell was already in custody for another homicide that occurred in Los Angeles County this week involving a home robbery, police said.

The serial killings spanned four days -- from Sunday to Wednesday. The suspect was taken into custody in connection with the robbery homicide on Thursday, officials said.

Authorities announced they were seeking a potential serial killer in the shootings of the unhoused men on Friday.

"Twenty-four hours ago we announced there was a killer on the loose. Now he is in custody," Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said at a press briefing on Saturday.

Powell's vehicle was at the scene of all three homicides of the unhoused men, and a handgun recovered from the vehicle was "positively identified" as the murder weapon, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore told reporters. The vehicle and handgun were also linked to the home robbery shooting, authorities said.

In the shootings of the unhoused men, the first victim -- a 37-year-old man, was killed at about 3 a.m. on Sunday, police said. The second victim, 62 years old, was attacked at about 4:55 a.m. Monday, and the third, a 52-year-old man, was killed around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, police said.

A motive in the shootings has not yet been established, according to Chief Moore, who said the men were murdered "without provocation."

The home-robbery shooting occurred on Tuesday. Powell is accused of following the victim from a charging station in West Covina to the victim's home in San Dimas, authorities said.

"Upon taking the personal belongings, the suspect senselessly shot the victim and fled the crime scene," The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said in a press release.

The victim -- 42-year-old Nicholas Simbolon -- died from his injuries, the sheriff's department said. Simbolon was a father of two who worked for the Los Angeles County Chief Executive Office as a project manager in the I.T. department, authorities said.

Detectives identified a vehicle of interest from surveillance footage in that case -- a 2024 Gray BMW -- which was entered into a law enforcement database as a "Wanted, Armed and Dangerous" vehicle, authorities said.

An automatic license plate reader system was used to flag the suspect's whereabouts and he was arrested following a traffic stop in Beverly Hills Wednesday night, police said. He was booked early Thursday for robbery and murder and is being held on $2.1 million bail.

"Had they not had those access to those tools, this individual I am convinced would still be moving about the city, in the region, and killing individuals, innocent individuals, helpless individuals," Moore said.

Authorities are investigating whether the suspect may be linked to other cases.

"If anybody believes that they may have been a victim of a crime and this individual perpetrated it, you need to contact us right away," Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said at the briefing.