(LOS ANGELES) — A man was arrested on Friday in connection with the stabbing death of a homeless man in Anaheim, Calif., the latest in a string of homicides committed against homeless men in the area.
The 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, said Sgt. Bob Dunn, an Anaheim police spokesman.
He 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 News affiliate KABC of 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.
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.
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.
Anaheim’s Deputy Police Chief Craig Hunter said, ” We’re not speculating at that this time about this suspect’s connection to any of those other homicides.”
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
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AnneClaire Stapleton and Holly Yan, CNN
Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
Jennifer Graham, Deseret News
Faith Karimi, CNN