LOS ANGELES - Officials announced on Saturday that the man arrested earlier in the week, believed to be responsible for killing a San Dimas father during a follow-home robbery, is also suspected of murdering three homeless people across Los Angeles.
Jerrid Joseph Powell was arrested on Nov. 30 in Beverly Hills on suspicion of murdering 42-year-old Nicholas Simbolon in his San Dimas garage, after deputies said Powell followed him home from an EV charging station in West Covina. According to LAPD Chief Michel Moore, a gun believed to be the weapon used in Simbolon's murder, was found in Powell's car when Beverly Hills police pulled him over.
On Saturday, Los Angeles County and city officials announced that Powell was also believed to be the suspect in the killings of three homeless men across LA over the last week. The first killing happened on Sunday, Nov. 26, in South LA; the second on Nov. 27 in downtown LA; and the third on Nov. 29 near Lincoln Heights.
Jerrid Joseph Powell was arrested on Nov. 30 under suspicion of shooting and killing man in San Dimas during a follow-home robbery. LA County officials also believe he's responsible for murdering three homeless people throughout the county.
Officials identified two of those killed in this string of murders as Jose Bolanos and Mark Diggs. Police are withholding the identity of the third victim while next of kin is notified. All three victims were experiencing homelessness at the time of the murders, according to police.
Three locations shown on a map revealed by the Los Angeles Police Department Friday as they ask for the public's help tracking a killer who targets homeless people. (LAPD)
Saturday Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said that a key factor in capturing Powell was being able to identify his car. Luna said that after Simbolon's murder in San Dimas, the department was able to identify the suspect's vehicle, and between video evidence and eyewitness reports, they were able to put a license plate into an automatic license plate reader. That license plate number helped Beverly Hills police identify Powell's car later in the week.
Moore said that the technology was vital to the arrest.
"The safety net of what technology can provide us today for safer communities is critical," Moore said. "Had they not had those access to those tools, this individual, I am convinced, would still be moving about the city and the region and killing individuals, innocent individuals, helpless individuals."
Luna added that Powell's car could also be placed at the three other murders throughout the week.
Law enforcement said that Powell had a lengthy criminal history, and based off that, they believe there may be other victims out there. Officials asked anyone with information about other potential victims to contact them.
"If you think of the crimes that this individual committed — we're talking about four — I know based on his criminal history, he didn't just start doing this a week ago," Luna said.
Police are still investigating a motive for the killings.