The man Anaheim police accuse of killing four homeless men served as a Marine in the Iraq War, according to interviews with friends and family.
Itzcoatl Ocampo, 23, of Yorba Linda, was arrested Friday night shortly following the stabbing death of John Berry, a homeless man in his mid-60s, in an Anaheim fast food parking lot around 8:15 p.m.
Police said the Friday night stabbing happened in front of many witnesses at a busy restaurant.
"We are extremely confident that we have the man who is responsible for all four murders of homeless men in Orange County," Anaheim police Chief John Welter said Saturday.
Just days beore his death, the victim had been interviewed by a Los Angeles Times reporter. At first, Berry said he wasn't scared. He had been living along the Santa Ana River bed.
"I just like to stay outdoors," Berry told The Times. "A guy can get killed crossing the street. I've been as careful as I can, watching and everything."
Recently, Berry began to grow afraid. He said he thought somebody was stalking him from the trees along the riverbed, The Times reported.
The suspect's high school friend Brian Doyle told The Times Ocampo had been kicked out of the military, but Anaheim police declined to comment on his military service at the Saturday news conference.
An uncle, Ifrain Gonzalez, told the paper that Ocampo came home from the war in 2010 "sick," meaning mentally ill. He had been living with two siblings in a home Anaheim police searched after his arrest.
Ocampo gave a small donation to a documentary about three wounded U.S. Marines in November or December, movie producer Bill Brown said.
-City News Service and Patch staff reports