Crime After slayings, homeless in Las Vegas fear a serial killer is stalking them

00:11  14 february  2018
00:11  14 february  2018 Source:   latimes.com

Homeless men are being gunned down on the street in Las Vegas

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Las Vegas police aren’t calling their suspect a serial killer , but they might as well. “If he’s not, he’s on his way to being one,” Plummer said. The FBI defines a serial killing as involving at least three slayings with the reasonable possibility they were committed by the same person.

They planted a mannequin at the site of the slayings made to look like a homeless man and waited. Hammer Beatings Homeless Killings Las Vegas Mannequin Murder Serial Killer Shane Allen Schindler Thrill Kill 2017-03-09.

A homeless woman and her dog sit on a pedestrian bridge in the sun and 115 degree heat on July 13, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. © George Rose/Getty Images A homeless woman and her dog sit on a pedestrian bridge in the sun and 115 degree heat on July 13, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. LAS VEGAS - Peter LaPrairie woke up Sunday morning after a night of cold winds whipped through his sleeping bag near the highway. He walked - maybe a mile - toward D Street, where tents and shopping carts were hemmed along a fence like a snowdrift of forgotten humanity.

Being homeless was not the life he planned. But there were things to be thankful for. Like the warm sun on his face.

And that he had survived the night without being shot.

Like most everyone in the area, he knew a killer was out there. Coldblooded, a police officer had told reporters.

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By the FBI's definition, a serial killer is a suspect who kills three or more people with about a month between slayings , he added. 1 day ago Hunt for serial killer shooting homeless people in Las Vegas .

A “cowardly” madman is targeting homeless people in and around Las Vegas , killing two so far and seriously injuring two more over the The man is not technically considered a serial killer because the attacks happened back-to-back, and the FBI’s definition requires about a month in between slayings .

"I'm not very social and like to be on my own," said LaPrairie, 46, standing outside a used tire shop. "But right now, that's not an option. I try to find more public places to sleep. And I don't sleep alone."

Two men were already dead and another wounded - all homeless in a small area a couple of miles north of downtown Las Vegas. All three were shot by the same 6-foot man with the same revolver, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police said last week.

Capt. Robert Plummer said the killings were random. But it also appeared the killer was targeting the homeless, though not exclusively. A fourth victim was shot and wounded in the town of Logandale, about an hour outside of Las Vegas. He was not homeless - just alone.

Las Vegas police aren't calling their suspect a serial killer, but they might as well. "If he's not, he's on his way to being one," Plummer said.

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Under the new definition, the individual responsible for the Tampa slayings would be considered a serial killer . Residents in the neighborhood fear they are being stalked by a serial killer .

They are canvassing the areas surrounding the shootings and seeking more surveillance footage of the killer . According to the LVMPD, the crime’s similarity to the murder of another homeless man, Brian Wayne Clegg, in Las Vegas on January 29 may point to a connection between the slayings .

The FBI defines a serial killing as involving at least three slayings with the reasonable possibility they were committed by the same person.

Plummer said his department has been in contact with law enforcement agencies in Utah, Arizona, California and Nevada in hopes of catching the killer.

Serial killings usually involve a "cooling off" period between attacks. The first two shootings - in Las Vegas and Logandale - were Jan. 29. The next two were four days later on Feb. 2.

The attacks - and the lull - have left the homeless community on edge.

Theresa Hicks, executive director of the service group Calvary Downtown Outreach, said the method of attack - shooting people while they sleep - heightens anxiety for a population already saddled with plenty of worries that come with living on the street.

She said the fear reminded people of a serial assault on homeless people in Las Vegas last year, when a man bludgeoned to death two sleeping men and injured a third using a hammer.

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Las Vegas police have seen three homeless killed in the last two weeks, leading the department to fear a potential serial killer may be on the loose in the city. Three homeless people have been shot in Las Vegas , two fatally. One of the killings occurred at this site near North 14th Street and U.S. 95.

Prosecutors said Ocampo would select homeless men and stalk them , waiting for the perfect moment to end their lives. Death of accused serial killer angers friend of victim November 28, 2013. Man charged in series of O.C. homeless slayings dies before

Police eventually used a mannequin - posing it as a sleeping homeless person over the summer - to lead them to Shane Schindler. He was caught beating the dummy, which he admitted he thought was a real person, and is now in state prison. He pleaded guilty to attempted murder for attacking the mannequin, and in a plea deal for a sentence of eight to 20 years was not charged in the slayings of the two men.

"There is fear on the streets," Hicks said. "There is some sense of 'here we go again.' It's evil."

Las Vegas has struggled with a relatively large homeless population. According to a 2017 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development report, the city has the eighth-highest number of homeless people in the country, with a tally of 6,490 in a one-night "point-in-time" count of both sheltered and unsheltered homeless populations taken in January of last year.

It is the smallest city in the top 10, which also include Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and New York.

The report also said 67 percent of Nevada's homeless were unsheltered - the second-highest percentage in the country.

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A serial killer is targeting sleeping homeless people in Las Vegas just months after the city suffered unspeakable tragedy in the in America's worst mass shooting.

Harry Hinderliter, president and chief executive of the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, said that even with a killer at large, his shelter hasn't seen a bump in homeless seeking refuge. With 320 beds, he said, it's not at full occupancy.

He said there is a sense of independence that many of the homeless feel when they're out on the street. They live by their rules. It's one of the ways they feel in control - even if the environment is unsafe.

A man who said his name was Sean Connery ("like James Bond" ) was in line for a meal at the Rescue Mission as the sun was beginning to set and the bright lights of casinos came on again just blocks away. He said he's taken extra precautions since the killings.

"Right now, I'm sleeping in a friend's backyard," he said. "I stay away from the trouble."

The 44-year-old said he came to Las Vegas 10 years ago from Chicago in search of a better life. He said he was an unemployed machinist who hasn't been able to string together steady work in years - though he was excited about a $30 job he said he lined up for next week.

Once inside the Rescue Mission, he ate chicken Parmesan while a man played ragtime on the piano. Next to the piano, a dog watched the homeless file in for their meals.

Connery said he wished he could stay in the shelter that night, but he wasn't allowed because he'd been drinking. "No meth," he said. "That's that bad stuff."

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Police believe the shootings are linked by proximity and time frame, but they don't have a motive or a suspect. The mayor is hesitant to say a serial killer is Las Vegas Sun. February 8, 2018. Currently: 59° — Complete forecast.

Las Vegas Forum, Travel Discussion for Las Vegas - TripAdvisor - www.tripadvisor.com. Same person has shot 4 homeless people in last nine days killing two of them . Bryan Cranston, the guy from Malcolm in the Middle, and Breaking Bad, is doing a dark comedy about a serial killer in Holland.

He was going to head to Fremont Street to watch a 1980s cover band - not just for the music, but to be among people. Staying up late reduced the time he was sleeping in the darkness.

"Can't be too careful," he said.

But for James Lewis, it was too late.

The 64-year-old was found under blankets Feb. 2 shot to death. His daughter found out her father was dead two days later. It was a Sunday.

a close up of a map: Map of shootings in Las Vegas. Los Angeles Times 2018 © Staff/Los Angeles Times/TNS Map of shootings in Las Vegas. Los Angeles Times 2018

"My brother called me and told me," Oneida Lewis-Baker said. "I couldn't believe it."

Lewis-Baker, who lives in Las Vegas, said she last talked with her father in 2001 while he was still in Colorado, where she grew up.

She said he had planned to move to Las Vegas to be with her then, but he never showed up, and the only number she had for him had been disconnected.

She said her mother - her parents were divorced - told her he was still in Colorado. There had been talk about a change of plans. Her dad might move to North Carolina to operate food trucks with her brother. But her brother got deployed after Sept. 11 and lost contact with their father too.

The last person to speak to him, as far as his immediate family knew, was a cousin in Arizona in 2008. After that, the cousin filed a missing person's report.

"I would do regular internet searches," said Lewis-Baker, 44. "But nothing ever came up."

She said she went to the area where her father was killed and talked to some homeless men there - hoping for some clues.

She picked up a few. Her father wasn't using his real name. He had a bicycle that he would ride early in the morning to collect cans to recycle. A week before he was killed, his bicycle had been stolen.

Who knew how much of it was true?

"I have so many unanswered questions," Lewis-Baker said.

Chief among them was why her father chose homelessness when he had family to help him. One man told her that sometimes men with families are ashamed of their circumstance and don't want anyone to know about it. They disappear.

Lewis-Baker said she always remembered her dad as a hard worker. He drove cabs in Denver and worked at a glass factory. He was an avid Broncos fan and taught her all about football. She remembered learning to tie her shoes - his big hands gingerly fingering the laces. She remembered how he called her "Boo" - his nickname for her.

"Growing up, I never noticed anything wrong," she said. "He was my Superman."

He is scheduled to be buried in Las Vegas on Feb. 23.

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

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