SAN DIEGO -- Arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 2 for Jon David Guerrero, accused of attacking five homeless men in various San Diego neighborhoods, three of them fatally.
Guerrero was arrested Friday after being spotted by a patrol officer in Park West, not long after the latest assault. He was booked into jail on suspicion of three counts of murder, two of attempted murder and two of arson.
San Diego police said the victims were brutalized -- two of them set on fire -- as they slept on roadsides, in open areas and under freeway bridges.
The spree of assaults across the city left San Diegans -- particularly those who live on the streets -- shaken and on edge since the Fourth of July weekend.
The first attack in the series occurred July 3. About 8 a.m. that day, the burning body of Angelo De Nardo, 53, was found underneath an Interstate 5 offramp near the 2700 block of Morena Boulevard in Bay Park. Witnesses to the disturbing scene described seeing a man running across the freeway near Claremont Drive, carrying a gas can.
The following day, Shawn Mitchell Longley, 41, was found dead at a park on Bacon Street in Ocean Beach, and 61-year-old transient Manuel Mason was severely wounded near Valley View Casino Center in the Midway district, according to police.
On the morning of July 6, Dionicio Derek Vahidy, 23, was gravely wounded in downtown San Diego by an assailant who fled after leaving a towel burning on top of him. Vahidy died in a hospital four days later.
Authorities have not released the victims' causes of death or disclosed a suspected motive for the violence. There are no indications that the suspect knew the victims, according to police.
The most recent attack came to light July 15, shortly after 4:30 a.m., when two San Diego Harbor Police officers heard someone yelling for help while driving along the 1800 block of C Street, underneath Interstate 5 in the East Village, San Diego police Capt. David Nisleit said.
The personnel pulled over and found a 55-year-old homeless man suffering from "significant trauma" to his upper body, the captain said. Though badly injured, the victim, whose name has not been released, was expected to survive.
Guerrero, a Coronado native who most recently lived in downtown San Diego, was arrested about two miles from the site of the assault.
Nisleit said at a news conference that detectives discovered physical evidence at the scene of the Friday attack and at the suspect's residence that "definitively and uniquely links together the recent murders and brutal attacks against our homeless community."
Another man was arrested on July 7 in connection with the attacks but was cleared when additional evidence was discovered.