A man linked to four horrific attacks on homeless people in San Diego was arrested Thursday for murder.
Two men were killed and two others were hospitalized in critical condition after an attacker who was targeting sleeping homeless people assaulted them and set them on fire over the past four days, police said.
One of the victims in critical condition was not expected to survive his injuries.
Anthony Padgett, a 36-year-old originally from Chula Vista, was arrested around 10 a.m. Thursday, San Diego police said in a press conference.
Police, who saidthat they do not believe there are other suspects, did not answer a question about whether Padgett himself is homeless.
A person of the same name and age as the suspect was sentenced to four years in prison for setting fire to a friend in 2010, according to Chula Vista’s Star News.
The attacks began Sunday, when police said 53-year-old Angelo De Nardo was killed and then set on fire, before being left between train tracks and Interstate 5. The next day, investigators said Manuel Mason, 61, had to be rushed to the hospital with multiple stab wounds after officers found him bleeding next to Valley View Casino Center.
The same day, police discovered the body of Shawn Longley, 41, near tennis courts on Bacon St. in the Ocean Beach neighborhood. Investigators said he suffered blunt force trauma to his upper body, NBC San Diego reported.
On Wednesday, a 23-year-old man was sleeping downtown when an attacker assaulted him and tried to set him on fire, cops said. The victim is currently fighting for his life in a hospital.
“These evil acts of violence are some of the worst I have seen in my 34 years of law enforcement,” said SDPD Chief Shelley Zimmerman said Wednesday.
Police have said the attacks are likely connected, although they haven’t explained why. The released security camera images of a man allegedly buying a gas can, a gallon of gas and a lighter about 15 minutes before the attack on De Nardo Sunday.
“It’s really hard to say what our suspect’s motive is. All I can say is these are senseless attacks,” San Diego police Capt. David Nisleit told reporters.