LOS ANGELES — A man already in custody for a separate murder was formally arrested on Saturday for the fatal shootings of three homeless individuals in Los Angeles, according to authorities. The suspect, identified as 33-year-old Jerrid Joseph Powell, was apprehended earlier this week in connection with the murder of a San Dimas resident during a follow-home robbery. Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore provided details about the case during a news conference.
The investigation revealed that Powell followed 42-year-old Nicholas Simbolon, an employee of the Los Angeles County Chief Executive Office, from a charging station in West Covina to his home in San Dimas. Once there, Powell allegedly robbed and shot him in his garage before fleeing the scene. Moore stated that the same vehicle used in Simbolon’s murder was connected to the three homeless killings. A handgun recovered from Powell’s vehicle was also determined to be the weapon used in all three fatal shootings.
The first homeless killing took place around 3 a.m. on Sunday in the 800 block of West 110th Street. Subsequent shootings occurred at approximately 5 a.m. on Monday in the 800 block of East Seventh Street and at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday at South Avenue 18 and South Pasadena Avenue. The victims, who were all alone and sleeping on a sidewalk or alley, were identified as Jose Bolanos, Mark Diggs, and an unnamed 52-year-old man.
Powell will face further charges, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón. Authorities have not ruled out the possibility that he may have committed additional crimes. The apprehension of the suspect brought relief to the city, as the brutal killings had terrified the homeless community and raised concerns about their safety.
To address the immediate safety concerns, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority activated its Augmented Winter Shelter Program, extending it through Monday night. This program expands the availability of interim housing options, including motel vouchers, to provide added safety for unhoused individuals in addition to the traditional shelters.
Investigators are urging anyone with information regarding Powell or any potential connections to other crimes to come forward and contact the police or sheriff’s officials.