By Alex Dobuzinskis
(Reuters) – Police in San Diego on Tuesday were seeking a man possibly connected to the slaying of two homeless men and the wounding of a third over the holiday weekend, officials said.
Police were calling the man a “person of interest” and not a suspect and they provided few details on what connects him to the attacks on the three men.
Witnesses saw the “person of interest” near where the first attack occurred on Saturday, and he was captured on surveillance video inside a local store wearing a backpack, San Diego police Captain David Nisleit said in a phone interview.
In that first attack, the body of a homeless man was discovered on fire between a highway and train tracks in the Mission Bay area of San Diego, police said.
The victim, a 53-year-old man, was pronounced dead at the scene.
On Monday before dawn, a 61-year-old man was discovered bleeding with trauma to his upper body, less than 4 miles (6 km) south of the first attack, police said.
He was rushed to a hospital with life-threatening injuries, and was still listed in critical condition on Tuesday, Nisleit said.
On Monday morning, just over an hour after the discovery of the badly wounded man, a third victim was discovered near some tennis courts in the Ocean Beach neighborhood about 3 miles (5 km) to the west of the second attack, police said.
He had trauma to his upper torso and was already dead when police arrived, said Nisleit, who declined to provide further details on the victim’s injuries. Investigators have not been able to identify the man or establish his exact age, he said.
The names of the other two men have not been released.
All three homeless men appeared to have been sleeping when they were attacked, Nisleit said. A single person is believed to have carried out the two slayings and the wounding of the third victim, he said.
“Obviously this is somebody we want to locate and get out of the community,” Nisleit said.
San Diego police have been warning homeless people about the attacks and are seeking potential tips from them, he said.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Frances Kerry)