By Gabriella Borter
(Reuters) - Police arrested and charged a man in Santa Monica, California, with murder, after he apparently attacked several homeless men with a baseball bat earlier this month, killing at least two, according to a statement by the Los Angeles Police Department.
Police will provide further details on the investigation at a news briefing in Los Angeles later on Tuesday.
Ramon Escobar, 47, was arrested Monday after he allegedly beat a homeless man unconscious in Santa Monica, LAPD said.
Detectives believe Escobar is responsible for at least three other attacks on homeless men while they were sleeping in downtown Los Angeles on Sept. 16, two of which were fatal.
LAPD Captain William Hayes said the suspect, who was caught on surveillance video last week, had rummaged through the victims' belongings in search of valuable items before leaving the scene.
Santa Monica police were also investigating Escobar's possible involvement in a third murder after officers found a dead man under the city pier on Sept. 20, they said on Monday.
Escobar is also a person of interest in the August disappearance of two of his relatives in the Houston area, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times on Monday.
Houston Police Lieutenant Humberto Lopez told the paper that Escobar's uncle and aunt, Rogelio and Dina Escobar, had been missing since August. Police found the charred remains of Dina Escobar's van days after they disappeared, the paper said.
The Houston Police Department declined to respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Gabriella Borter; Editing by Joseph Ax and Bernadette Baum)