Suspect arrested in bludgeoning of seven California men, three of them fatal
By Steve Gorman LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A man who fled to California from Texas after being questioned in the disappearance of two Houston relatives has been arrested on suspicion of committing seven bludgeoning attacks, three of them fatal, in the Los Angeles area this month, police said on Tuesday. Ramon Escobar, 47, faces three counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder in a case investigators in Los Angeles and the adjacent beachfront city of Santa Monica are preparing to present to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, police said.
By Steve Gorman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A man who fled to California from Texas after being questioned in the disappearance of two Houston relatives has been arrested on suspicion of committing seven bludgeoning attacks, three of them fatal, in the Los Angeles area this month, police said on Tuesday.
Ramon Escobar, 47, faces three counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder in a case investigators in Los Angeles and the adjacent beachfront city of Santa Monica are preparing to present to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, police said.
Los Angeles Police Department Captain William Hayes described Escobar as a "previously deported felon" who is originally from El Salvador and applied for and was possibly granted asylum in the United States.
He served five years in state prison in Texas, from 1995 to 2000, on a burglary conviction, and was arrested on suspicion of assault and criminal trespass in Texas during the past two years, Hayes told a news conference.
Six of the seven victims Escobar is accused of attacking in Southern California were homeless men, and all appeared to have been bludgeoned in the head while they slept outdoors, police said. A baseball bat recovered from Escobar's car, and a pair of bolt-cutters found at the scene of one of the attacks were identified as the weapons he used, Hayes said.
The police captain said Escobar was apparently homeless himself and that robbery was the suspected motive for the attacks, which the police captain called crimes of opportunity.
"He is a violent predator," Hayes told reporters.
Escobar was jailed without bond in Santa Monica following his arrest there on Monday shortly after the latest attack. It was not clear if he had an attorney yet.
At least two of the surviving victims remain hospitalized in a coma, Hayes said.
Hayes said Escobar was already considered a "person of interest" by Houston police investigating the unsolved disappearance of two relatives he had been living with in that city. The two family members, identified by the Los Angeles Times as an aunt and uncle, went missing in late August.
Hayes said Escobar was questioned by Houston police on Aug. 30 before he "fled the state of Texas," travelling by car to Southern California and arriving in Los Angeles on Sept. 5. The first attack of which he is suspected occurred three days later.
(Writing and reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Gabriella Borter in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Peter Cooney)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.