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4th victim in Hollywood stabbing rampage found; motive remains unclear [Updated]

August 7, 2009 |  4:26 pm

Los Angeles police detectives said they have found a fourth victim as they continue to investigate multiple stabbings that occurred Thursday on the streets of Hollywood.

Hours after the mayor and police chief called a news conference in Hollywood to tout a major drop in crime, an apparently deranged man ran through nearby streets, stabbing homeless men to death in broad daylight on some of the city's busiest boulevards. [Updated at 4:50 p.m.: The fourth victim was discovered by authorities this afternoon, and he is listed in critical condition.]

In a three-hour period, Damian Durado, 54, who one witness described as “calm” and “cleanly dressed” moments before the killings, allegedly stabbed two men to death and left two more in critical condition.

One of the stabbings took place on Hollywood Boulevard under a marquee at the Music Box Theater that read: “Chief Bratton You Are Our Star” — a sign intended to thank the chief for bringing down the crime rate.

To some, the rampage was a tragically ironic demonstration of how difficult it can be to control crime in the city. But others, including political leaders, saw it a different way. Pointing out that the suspect was caught within four hours of the first stabbing and is now in custody, they said the incident, though horrific, underscores how effective the police have become.

“He was not even able to leave the Hollywood area,” said Capt. Beatrice Girmala of the Los Angeles Police Department. “My fear would have been [that he would have] hidden himself, left the area … and we would go wondering if we were going to have a string of victims.”

--Jessica Garrison in Hollywood