Hollenbeck Police detectives investigating two assaults involving a hammer reported this month in Boyle Heights are trying to determine if they are related to similar attacks reported in the Spring in East Los Angeles, several news outlets reported.
The most recent attack was reported on July 21. A man was walking his dog near Savannah and New Jersey streets when he was hit in the back of the the head with a hammer. Police told KTLA the victim ran to his house and was not able to get a description of the attacker.
Another person who apparently saw the attack described the suspect as a white man with long brown hair, wearing a baseball cap, gray flannel shirt and carrying a backpack.
A similar assault was reported on July 9 about 7:35 a.m. under a railroad overpass on Grande Vista Ave. just south of Union Pacific Ave. Police said a man was attacked with a hammer shortly after he was seen rummaging through a homeless man’s belongings.
The victim was reportedly struck over the head several times and lost consciousness. This time the suspect was described as a Hispanic man between 40 and 45 years old, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing 160 pounds and wearing a yellow and blue striped shirt.
Both victims were hospitalized but neither received life-threatening injuries, police said.
A story airing this week on KNBC said Boyle Heights residents were “on edge” over the recent attacks. “We’re worried about our kids and our loved ones here,” resident Gilbert Parra told the station.
Police don’t know if the Boyle Heights incidents are related to two similar hammer attacks reported earlier this year, on Good Friday, in East Los Angeles.
On that March 25, a suspect approached an elderly man on the 1400 block of South Bonnie Beach Place and without provocation struck him with “a hammer like weapon,” according to a report by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office. When the victim fell to the ground, the suspect reportedly kicked him.
The second attack occurred a few hours later and a few blocks away from the first one. A woman standing in front of a home on the 4400 block of Triggs Street was struck several times “about the head” with a hammer-like weapon and knocked unconscious.
Both victims were taken to the hospital in serious condition but survived the injuries.
Shortly thereafter the LA County Board of Supervisors offered a $15,000 reward for the capture of the suspect, who was never apprehended.
LAPD Captain Rick Stabile told KTLA his agency is working closely with the East LA Sheriff’s division, because of the similarities of the attacks.
“We don’t know for sure but it’s awfully coincidental that we have a suspect going around hitting people in the back of the head with a hammer,” he said.
Anyone with information on these attacks is asked to call LAPD Hollenbeck division at (323) 342-8900.
Photo above: the railroad overpass where the July 9 attack reportedly took place. Photo: Google Maps.