A man arrested in the stabbing death of a homeless man in Anaheim, Calif., is believed to be responsible for the killings of three others, a string of homicides that brought an outpouring of support for the area's homeless.
The latest stabbing occurred Friday night and the victim was identified only as "John," a Vietnam War veteran in his 60s. Police have neither positively identified the victim nor notified his next of kin, Sgt. Bob Dunn, an Anaheim police spokesman said today.
Witnesses told police that they chased Itzcoatl Ocampo, 23, of Yorba Linda, Calif., after the stabbing. Police were called at 8:17 p.m. and arrested Ocampo and searched his home, police said.
"After further investigation by the homicide task force, we are extremely confident that we have the man who's responsible for the murders of all four homeless men in Orange County," Anaheim Police Chief John Welter said this evening at a news conference.
"John," the latest vistim in the slaying, had complained to those who knew him that he thought he was being stalked.
"He said 'I need to talk to you.' He said 'I think I came in contact with the serial killer last night.' Immediately, I was concerned," Jim Burke told ABC station KABC-TV in Los Angeles.
"Why would you kill a homeless person? They do nothing wrong, especially him … He was a nice person," said Kevin Christensen, adding that he also knew the victim, who was well liked by many locals.
The three other knife slayings of homeless men have put the homeless community and their advocates on high alert, and prompted the launch of a special task force comprised of FBI agents and police investigators from Anaheim, Yorba Linda and Placentia.
The other victims include James Patrick McGillivray, 53, who was killed near a shopping center in Placentia on Dec. 20; Lloyd Middaugh, 42, found near a riverbed trail in Anaheim on Dec. 28; and Paulus Smit, 57, killed outside a Yorba Linda library on Dec. 30,