Homicide detectives sought help and urged vigilance Wednesday as they continued seeking a man who they say stabbed an elderly man to death inside a South Whittier home on Tuesday afternoon, as well as assaulted another elderly man two blocks away.
The deadly assault took place about 3 p.m. in the 15300 block of Goodhue Street in South Whittier, while the other attack took place minutes before at a home in the 15500 block of Fernview Street in Whittier, authorities said during a press conference.
“We believe there is a public safety risk,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said. “This individual has committed at least two violent assaults on at least two elderly individuals.”
Investigators released surveillance camera images of the suspect, who was spotted coming and going from the victim’s home in the 15300 block of Goodhue Street around the time of the fatal stabbing, which sheriff’s officials said took place shortly before 3 p.m.
Responding deputies pronounced the victim dead at the scene, His identity was not available Wednesday.
The assailant had entered the home through an unlocked front door before attacking the elderly victim, Luna said.
The killer then fled the scene in the victim’s silver, 2021 Toyota RAV-4 with license plate No. 8VPH289, Luna said.
The SUV was seen on surveillance cameras driving in Ontario about 3 a.m. on Wednesday morning before it was found parked in Chino about 6 a.m. There was no sign of the suspect.
Detectives soon learned that just minutes before the fatal stabbing was reported, another elderly resident was assaulted about two blocks away in the 15500 block of Fernview Street in Whittier, according to Luna.
An intruder believed to be the same man entered the home through an unlocked door and attacked an elderly man, the Sheriff said. The suspect fled when confronted by the victim’s son.
Luna described the suspect as a man, possibly in his 30s, standing about 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing roughly 150 pounds. He had a dark complexion, as well as short black hair and facial hair. He was last seen wearing dark pants and a tan shirt.
“The suspect may be homeless,” Luna said.
A motive in the attacks was not clear.
“We believe these two crimes are random acts of violence,” Luna said.
Patrols have been increased in the neighborhood where the violence occurred, Luna said. Sheriff’s investigators were working closely with the Whittier and Chino police departments, he added.
“We want the community to know that we are working very diligently to keep you safe,” Luna said.
He also urged residents to remain cautious.
The intruder made his way into both homes through unlocked doors, Luna pointed out.
“We Know it’s been hot the past couple days,” he said. “You have to always lock your front door, and if possible, lock your windows. Always do that, please.
Officials asked anyone with information about the suspect, or possibly surveillance camera footage depicting him, to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.