July 22, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Suspect in Custody: Los Angeles Man Linked to Serial Homeless Murders and San Dimas Slaying

Authorities Seek Information on Additional Crimes Suspect May Have Committed

By Dolores Quintana

On December 1, a press conference was held by the Los Angeles Police Department about a series of three separate murders that occurred between November 26, 2023, and November 29, 2023, all victims being homeless. The authorities’ belief was that a serial killer of unhoused residents of the city might be at work.

In response to the crisis, Mayor Karen Bass stated, “Our region is mobilizing to respond to this issue. We will work tirelessly to find the individual responsible, arrest them, and hold them accountable.” Chief Michel Moore affirmed that the LAPD is utilizing all available resources to investigate, and District Attorney George Gascón expressed commitment to the pursuit of justice. A joint task force was formed to investigate these heinous and disturbing crimes. 

The next day, Saturday, December 2, another surprise press conference was called, and during the conference, the announcement was made that a suspect in the murders was already in custody. 

The suspect is Jerrid Joseph Powell, a 33-year-old Los Angeles man who was already in custody for a San Dimas follow-home robbery turned homicide. He has now been formally arrested as the suspect in the killings of three homeless men in separate shootings this week, according to LAPD Chief Michel Moore. The shootings spanned four days, starting on Sunday, Nov. 26, in the southeast area of Los Angeles.

The victims include 37-year-old Jose Vamos, 62-year-old Mark Diggs, and a 52-year-old man who has not been identified pending notification of his relatives. Powell is also connected to the fatal shooting of 42-year-old Nicholas Simbolon in San Dimas. Surveillance footage revealed Powell following Simbolon from a charging station, robbing, and shooting him in his garage. Simbolon was an employee of the County of Los Angeles who lived in San Dimas.

Powell was arrested in the City of Beverly Hills after surveillance cameras identified his vehicle and officers from the Beverly Hills Police Department fed the information about his vehicle into the city’s controversial automatic license plate reading technology. Sheriff Luna stated that had the Beverly Hills PD not entered the information into the system, Powell might still be on the streets. 

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has also announced that they need the public’s help to identify if there are any other crimes that the suspect, Jerrid Joseph Powell, may have committed. They have issued a bulletin asking the public to come forward if they have any additional information about the suspect and if they have any knowledge that could connect him to any other crimes he may have committed. Sheriff Luna stated, “Based on his criminal history, he didn’t just start doing this a week ago.”

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