Itzcoatl Ocampo, 23, an ex-Iraq veteran, was arrested by authorities last Friday after fleeing from a Carl’s Jr.
Beginning December 20th outside of a shopping center in Placentia, the attacks were all been in within a five mile radius of each other.
The first victim, James McGillivray, 53, was sleeping peacefully outside the shopping center as the surveillance video shows a dark figure dressed in black approaching him from behind. McGillivray was then stabbed multiple times. Within the next ten days, the killer claimed two more victims, both killed in a similar fashion: Lloyd Middaugh, 42, found on the Santa Ana River Trail, and Paulus Cornelius Smit, 57, found behind the Yorba Linda library.
The authorities worked diligently to catch the killer and keep the local homeless community safe. They had set up roadblocks in Yorba Linda to question people who drive through areas regularly, coinciding with the murder of Smit. The Orange County Rescue Mission distributed free meals, hygiene products, and safety kits to the community. These kits contained a manual of safety tips, a flashlight, and a safety whistle. The homeless also were being advised to stay out of dark, isolated areas, and seek safety in shelters or in groups.
A volunteer group called the Guardian Angels had also lent a hand. Dressed in white T-shirts and red berets, they patrolled the areas homeless people populated, keeping everyone safe and secure. They patrolled day and night, in cars and on foot. They are a calm group who don’t carry weapons, but will become physical if necessary. They also distributed fliers to alert the homeless that "a serial killer is responsible for the slayings" and to encourage them to "get off the streets" and "keep to more populated parts of town."
The last victim was homeless and Vietnam War veteran John Berry, 65, was found dead nearby the restaurant at the scene of the crime. Unfortunately, Berry had been interviewed weeks ago about the homeless killer and expressed no concern. It wasn’t until several days before his death that he felt he was being followed.
As for Ocampo, family members and friends said that he had been mentally ill, that he had been hearing and seeing things that weren’t there.
"We are extremely confident that we have the man that is responsible for the murders of all four homeless men in Orange County," said John Welter, the Anaheim Police Chief.