Police say a homeless man was found stabbed to death behind a fast-food restaurant in Anaheim and police have detained a man they believe is responsible for the killing — and the killings of several other homeless men during the last few weeks.
Itzcoatl Ocampo, 23, of Yorba Linda, was arrested in connection with the slaying of a man behind a Carls Jr. in Anaheim on Saturday. He was held without bail for suspicion of murder, Santa Ana police said.
Anaheim Deputy Chief Craig Hunter said Ocampo fits the description of a man wanted for three stabbing deaths — in Anaheim, Placentia and Yorba Linda — that began Dec. 20. And the Orange County Register is reporting that police believe the suspect "is connected to the recent slayings of three other homeless men" in the county.
The attack behind a Carl's Jr. on East La Palma Ave. was in progress when an emergency operator got a call at 8:17 p.m. Friday, according to Anaheim police. Friday night's victim was known to locals as "John." He was believed to be a Vietnam War veteran in his mid-60s. It was unclear where his last address was. Several people told television station he was a nice guy, not an aggressive beggar.
"I saw him at CVS about a week ago and I started crying when he said he wanted to leave the area and I hugged him,'' a woman told NBC LA. "But then I saw him and I was so happy he was still here, but I've been busy and I didn't have time the last couple of days to say 'hi'."
Police say the man was found between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Friday near the restaurant at the intersection of La Palma Avenue and Imperial Highway.
Hunter says witnesses to the killing followed a man who ran from the restaurant parking lot and led police to him.
During the last weeks, police have been warning homeless in the area to stay vigilant because they believed a serial killer targeting homeless men was on the loose.