Suspect arrested in LA homeless stabbings

Jul 21, 2012, 6:19 PM

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Police arrested a suspect in the stabbings of three Los Angeles-area homeless people in recent weeks, a man they say goes by a name signed on “death warrants” found with the wounded victims.

Courtney Anthony Robinson, 38, called 911 Friday and said it was his face being distributed on flyers around the city, Commander Andrew Smith said Saturday. Officers found Robinson inside a fast food restaurant in Hollywood and took him into custody without incident.

He was charged with attempted murder and is being held on half-million dollars bail.

Police previously described him as a possibly homeless man from Santa Barbara who also goes by David Ben Keyes, a name written on notes left at all three stabbing scenes that the writer called “death warrants.” Robinson admitted signing the notes, Smith said.

One victim in Santa Monica and two in Los Angeles were stabbed in the back as they slept. The first stabbing occurred July 3 in downtown Los Angeles, the only incident where a witness saw a suspect fleeing. The second on Tuesday targeted a man as he slept on a bus bench in Santa Monica. The most recent was on Thursday, when a woman was stabbed in Hollywood.

The three victims, all in their 50s, survived.

Smith said investigators believe Robinson may also be connected to the unsolved stabbings of two homeless men in Santa Barbara.

Detectives described Robinson as lucid and able to converse but with possible “mental health issues,” Smith said.

Earlier Friday, police and advocates urged homeless people to seek safety in shelters as news spread of an at-large serial stabber. But they faced the challenge that many street dwellers like being alone because they feel it’s less risky or simply because they can’t cope with people due to mental illness.

With robberies, assaults or even rapes frequently occurring on the streets and in shelters, many homeless people have found that survival comes down to finding places where no one can see them.

But advocates for the homeless say that’s also what makes them easy marks for criminals looking for victims in general or homeless people specifically.

“People on the street know it’s dangerous, but many people want to be on their own,” said Herb Smith, president and chief executive of the Los Angeles Mission in Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles. “They’re not socialized. It’s part of their condition.”

Warnings about the hazards of sleeping on the street were stepped up as police continued to hunt the perpetrator. Shelters in downtown Los Angeles’ Skid Row, the nation’s densest concentration of homeless where more than 1,000 people sleep on sidewalks nightly, were taking the threat seriously.

“We’re all on high alert,” said Georgia Berkovich, spokeswoman for the Midnight Mission, where an extra room was being prepared in case more people turned up for beds Friday.

The mission distributed news stories about the stabbings and photos of Robinson to staff and security guards, while nearby Union Rescue Mission posted fliers around its premises, made an announcement during lunch and spread warnings along with bottled water at its mid-afternoon “water walk.”

Men are often more challenging to reach than women, who must deal with the added threat of sexual assault and seek shelters or buddy up for that reason, advocates said.

“The men tend to be very much loners. They find it much more difficult to congregate,” Smith said.

___

Associated Press writer Christina Hoag contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

FILE - A Goodwill store sign is shown in Berkeley, Calif., Tuesday, March 9, 2021. Goodwill Industr...
Associated Press

Iconic Goodwill gets serious with online for thrifters

NEW YORK (AP) — Thrifters who flock to Goodwill stores will now be able to do some serious treasure hunting online as well. The Goodwill Industries International Inc., the 120-year-old non-profit organization that operates 3,300 stores in the U.S., and Canada, has launched an online business as part of a newly incorporated venture called GoodwillFinds. […]
3 hours ago
FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, watches through binoculars as Russian Defense Mini...
Associated Press

What’s Putin thinking? Tough to know for nuclear analysts

PARIS (AP) — Will President Vladimir Putin pull the nuclear trigger? For Kremlin watchers trying to figure out whether the Russian leader’s nuclear threats are just bluffs, there is no more pressing — or tough — question. For now, analysts cautiously suggest that the risk of Putin using the world’s biggest nuclear arsenal still seems […]
1 day ago
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate (84) misses a catch during the first half of an NFL fo...
Associated Press

Analysis: NFL isn’t passing the eye test on head injuries

What happened in Tampa was the last thing the NFL, its players and its fanbase needed three days after Tua Tagovailoa’s horrifying head injury called into question the league’s commitment to curbing concussions. Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate sat out the second half of Sunday night’s 41-31 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs with a […]
1 day ago
In this undated surveillance image released by the Stockton Police Department, a grainy still image...
Associated Press

Police: 6 California killings may be work of serial killer

STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) — Ballistics tests have linked the fatal shootings of six men and the wounding of one woman in California — all potentially at the hands of a serial killer — in crimes going back more than a year, police said. Authorities last week announced that five men in Stockton had been slain […]
1 day ago
A currency trader walks by the screens showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI), left,...
Associated Press

Asian shares rise after ‘relief rally’ on Wall Street

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares rose Tuesday, encouraged by a rally in U.S. shares after some weak economic data raised hopes that the Federal Reserve might ease away from aggressive interest rate hikes. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 2.8% in afternoon trading to 26,959.25. South Korea’s Kospi gained 2.5% to 2,209.98. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 jumped […]
1 day ago
FILE - Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., who is running for reelection, speaks about prescriptio...
Associated Press

Both candidates courting veterans in Nevada Senate race

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Common sense more than any campaign strategy dictated that Adam Laxalt not trumpet his own military service in Nevada’s sometimes-heated Republican Senate primary. After all, the ex-attorney general, who served as a Navy judge advocate general in Iraq, was running against retired Army Capt. Sam Brown, a war hero who was […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Suspect arrested in LA homeless stabbings