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Arrest made in string of homeless murders


County employee also killed

A felon arrested on suspicion of fatally shooting three homeless men in Los Angeles, along with the follow-home robbery and slaying of an L.A. County employee in San Dimas, was due in a downtown L.A. courtroom on Monday.

Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore and Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said on Dec. 2 that authorities linked Jerrid Joseph Powell, 33, of Los Angeles, to the fatal shootings of the three homeless men following his arrest in Beverly Hills last week in connection with the San Dimas killing.

A handgun recovered from Powell’s vehicle was used in the three homeless killings, Moore said.

“Our detectives worked closely with sheriff’s investigators and our forensics services overnight. The result of their work has positively identified the handgun recovered from Mr. Powell’s car as being the murder weapon of our three homicides,’’ he said.

Luna said members of the Beverly Hills Police Department conducted a traffic stop of Powell’s vehicle, and that Powell was arrested early on Nov. 30. Luna said the vehicle was linked to Powell after the San Dimas killing, which occurred just before 7 p.m. on Nov. 28 in the garage of a home in the 1800 block of Hawkbrook Drive.

The first homeless killing occurred around 3 a.m. on Nov. 26 Sunday in the 800 block of West 110th Street, followed by another at about 5 a.m. on Nov. 27 in the 800 block of East Seventh Street, and another at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 29 at South Avenue 18 and South Pasadena Avenue, Moore said.

“Each of the victims were in an open area, be it a sidewalk or alley, they were alone,’’ Moore said previously. “We believe a single individual approached each one and shot and killed each one as they slept. The investigators have gathered physical evidence as well as video images and we’ve identified this possible male lone individual as well as a vehicle.’’

According to the chief and the county medical examiner, the victim in the Nov. 26 shooting was Jose Bolanos, 37. Killed on Nov. 27 was 62-year-old Mark Diggs. The victim in the Nov. 29 shooting was a 52-year-old man, but his name was being withheld pending notification of relatives.

Nicholas Simbolon, 42, who worked as a project manager in the Los Angeles County executive office, was found on Nov. 28 by his wife inside his Tesla in the garage of the home, suffering from a gunshot to the upper body, according to witnesses and sheriff’s officials. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

Luna said surveillance video determined that Simbolon was apparently followed home from an electric-vehicle charging station in the 200 block of South Citrus Street in West Covina. The suspect approached Simbolon in the garage, stole some unspecified items, then “senselessly’’ shot him, Luna said.