Suspect: Police in Santa Monica on Monday arrested Ramon Escobar, 47 (pictured in a surveillance video) on suspicion on attacking a sleeping homeless man and bludgeoning him
A man arrested on suspicion of bludgeoning a homeless man in Santa Monica is being investigated in connection with at least six other attacks, three of them resulting in deaths, as well as the disappearance of his mother and uncle in Texas.
Santa Monica police arrested 47-year-old Ramon Escobar on Monday on suspicion of bludgeoning a homeless man as he slept on the sidewalk in the 1500 block of 7th Street at 7am.
The victim was hospitalized with blunt force trauma to the head.
Responding officers searched the area and apprehended the suspect a short time after the attack in the 600 block of Broadway Avenue.
Lt. Saul Rodriguez says investigators are trying to determine whether Escobar might also be the culprit who beat two homeless men in the coastal city earlier this month and killed another man, fisherman Steven Ray Cruze Jr, 39, who was found dead under the pier last week.
Escobar, suspected in at least seven attacks – three of them deadly – was caught on surveillance video in downtown Los Angeles in mid-September
Signature gait: Detectives pointed out that the man in the footage was extremely bow-legged
Police are investigating Escobar in connection to the beating death of fisherman and father-of-one Steve Cruze, Jr, 39 (pictured), who was found dead under the Santa Monica Pier last week
Police initially described Cruze as homeless, but his family said he was a deck hand on sportfishing and whaling boats and would sometime sleep under the Santa Monica Pier so he could be closer to work after late-night fishing.
‘He called his girlfriend at midnight. He said he was going to fish, then sleep, and go to work in the morning,’ his aunt Cathy Smith told NBC Bay Area.
Cruze is survived by his 12-year-old son, James, who wrote of his slain father in the description of a GoFundMe campaign that he was ‘the best daddy.’
Police in Los Angeles say they suspect Escobar used a baseball bat to batter three homeless men as they slept on downtown streets before dawn on September 16. Two of the victims, ages 20 and 59, later died of their injuries.
The third victim was hospitalized in critical condition.
The attacker was caught on surveillance video in downtown Los Angeles rifling through trash cans, leading police to believe that he, too, was homeless.
Detectives pointed out that the man in the footage, dressed in shorts, sneakers and a baseball cap, was extremely bow-legged.
Escobar is also a person of interest in the disappearance of his mother, Dina Escobar (right) and his uncle, Rogelio Escobar (left)
Dina, 60, went missing on August 28, two days after her brother, after she went looking for him. The woman’s van was later found torched on a Texas beach
Police in Houston reported that Escobar is also a person of interest in the disappearance of his mother, Dinora Escobar, and his uncle, Rogelio Escobar.
Rogelio, 65, was last seen on August 26 at his home in Houston. There have been no sightings of him for the past month.
His sister, 60-year-old Dinora, went missing two days later after going over to her brother’s home to look for him.
Police later found her 2007 Chevy Uplander minivan torched on a Galveston beach.
‘To lose a mom is like… it’s the worst feeling in the world, so it’s just really hard, and we just gotta keep praying and searching,’ Dinora’s other son, Walter Salamanca, told Fox 26 in early September.
The woman has four children and her brother has two sons.
Relatives in Texas told ABC7 they have not heard from Ramon since the disappearances but said he stopped taking medication for an unspecified mental illness around that time.