Between December 20, 2011 and January 14, 2012, four homeless men were stabbed to death while they slept. 23-year-old Itzcoatl Ocampo was arrested and charged with the murders committed in different Orange County, California cities.
Ocampo was captured on January 14, 2012 after stabbing the last victim behind a Carl's Jr. Donald Hopkins was shopping in a nearby CVS when a man ran into the store yelling for help. Hopkins ran outside, saw Ocampo, stabbing the victim. Noticing Hopkins, Ocampo took off on foot, pursued by Hopkins, who slowed to call 911. Hopkins was able to point police in direction Ocampo was running.
I not only stopped writing about homeless mentions in books I read, but also stopped reporting about homeless news stories. I followed this story, very interested in photos of the victims. I was homeless in Orange County, though never spent any nights sleeping on the streets, just in the Armory shelter. I met a lot of James and Jim's while on the streets. Might I have known, however briefly, the first victim 53-year-old James McGillivray? Without a picture, hard to say. Knew very few last names of homeless people I met during my homeless days.
As I followed the story as it progressed, my mind drifted to images of homeless men, curled up in sleeping bags, in various places around Long Beach. Safety in numbers comes to mind. I consider myself lucky, that I was never harmed; more often than not, I slept apart from the crowd; solitary sleeper, perfect potential victim.
Of interest to me in this story as reported by the Los Angeles Times, the Assn. of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs gave Hopkins a plaque and $5,000. reward for the role in played in capturing the killer before he continued his homeless killing spree. Also, along with the association, the Anaheim Police Association donated $5,000. to Mercy House, which provides services to homeless people. A nice gesture.