Homeless targets of serial killer warned off the streets

Police and a community group have warned homeless people in California not to sleep alone on the streets because a serial killer has already murdered three of them.

The Orange County Rescue Mission was handing out flashlights and whistles to the homeless in an effort to help them protect themselves, said Jim Palmer, the group’s president.

The group is encouraging homeless people to sleep in groups, or better, go to a shelter. “Our goal is to get them into those beds and fill those beds,” Mr Palmer said.

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Darryl Bossier, 49, says he sleeps outside the Orange County administration building in central Santa Ana – one of a dozen transients who use the benches that zig-zag across the courtyard as a place to rest each night. “I’m a watchdog. I don’t want them to get anybody,” Mr Bossier said. “Who wants to wake up next to somebody dead?”

He said he learned of the killings three days ago but would not go to a shelter because he had his mobile phone stolen the last time he slept there.

Authorities have asked for the public’s help in finding the killer, as a special task force searches for the suspect.