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LAPD to homeless: 'Get somewhere where you can be protected'

July 20, 2012 |  9:21 am

The Los Angeles Police Department has alerted social service agencies to expect larger numbers of homeless people seeking shelter after three sleeping transients were stabbed by an assailant who left behind rambling "death warrants."

The LAPD warned homeless people Thursday to move to shelters and try to stay in large groups for safety, and police have added nighttime patrols.

"Get somewhere where you can be protected. Please do what you can to get into a shelter and be safe," said LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith.

The attacker stabbed three middle-aged homeless people in the back this month, leaving typewritten, signed pieces of paper with rambling commentaries at the scene of each crime. 

Police have released a photo of a man they called a "person of interest." David Ben Keyes has been missing from the Santa Barbara area for weeks and is being sought by Santa Monica and Los Angeles police for questioning. 

The first attack was reported July 3, when a 56-year-old man was found with a large "hunting type" knife protruding from his back near 3rd and Main streets in downtown Los Angeles. The man crawled 100 yards looking for help with the weapon lodged between his shoulder blades, sources said.

Another man was stabbed Tuesday as he slept on a bus bench near the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. A 54-year-old woman was stabbed as she slept near La Brea and De LongPre avenues near Hollywood High School.

Police say Keyes isn't a clear suspect yet, as the attacker may have been using his name. On various websites, Keyes describes himself as "a musician, and writer of original Psalms, proverbs, love letters, poems, and riddles for the Roman Catholic Church and Jewish Synagogues."


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-- Andrew Blankstein