L.A. Homicides Are Just the Latest in a String of Violence Against Homeless People

Authorities have identified a man who they say murdered three unhoused Angelenos in cold blood.

Jerrid Joseph Powell, 33, was arrested over the weekend and charged with four counts of murder, one count of residential robbery, and one count of being a felon with a firearm, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón.

Police say Powell shot and killed three homeless men as they slept on November 26, November 27, and November 29. Powell is also accused of following 42-year-old Nicholas Simbolon to his San Dimas home, robbing him, and then shooting him to death in his garage. Simbolon was an employee of the county executive’s office.

Powell had no known relationship to any of his victims, but police knew what kind of vehicle they were searching for. Sheriff Robert Luna credited controversial automatic license plate readers used by the City of Beverly Hills for leading to Powell's capture.

Authorities in nearby jurisdictions are now reviewing other cases, including unsolved homicides, to determine whether Powell committed other crimes or murders.

Violence against unhoused people is on the rise

The day before Powell was apprehended, another Southern California man was convicted for his role in the killing of a defenseless homeless woman named Anette Pershal. Ryan Hopkins has admitted to being the driver for William Innes, the alleged killer of 68-year-old Pershal.

Pershal, who was better known as “Granny Annie” in her Serra Mesa neighborhood, was shot multiple times with a pellet gun as she slept back in May. She died days later from her injuries. On the night of her murder, Innes had said he was going “hobo hunting.” On Dec. 1, a court gave Hopkins a three-year suspended prison sentence for his involvement.

Random acts of violence against the unhoused have increased in recent years alongside the explosion in homelessness. In 2021, a record 85 unhoused people were murdered in Los Angeles. 


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