MIAMI, Nov 10 — Police in Florida have arrested a 22-year-old man for allegedly killing three homeless men during a week-long spree late last month in and around the city of Fort Lauderdale.
Fort Lauderdale police said Daniel Petgrave, who was homeless himself, confessed after his arrest on October 27, the day of the last slaying.
The first death occurred on the night of October 20 when Petgrave is alleged to have shot and killed a homeless man and seriously wounded another as they slept in an abandoned gas station.
The following night, police said he killed a second homeless man at another gas station with a shot to the head.
The shooting was caught on a security camera, enabling investigators to identify the attacker and link the two cases.
“We realised now that we might have a serial killer or someone just going out on a killing spree,” Lauderhill police chief Constance Stanley said at a news conference Wednesday, in the first public disclosure of the slayings.
A third homeless man was hacked to death October 27 in a warehouse in the same area, police said.
At the scene, police found the phrase “4 stop wait time” written in blood.
Petgrave told police the number four referred to his fourth victim, not knowing that one of his victims survived.
“He did explain the reason he wrote the other words, but we’re not gonna get into that right now,” said Sergeant Steve Novak of the Fort Lauderdale police.
He said Petgrave intended to kill five people, but did not explain why he targeted homeless people.
“We don’t think he specifically targeted those victims for any reason other than their availability,” Novak said.
Petgrave was homeless himself and had been living in a makeshift camp on the side of the road in the neighboring town of Plantation.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the state, police are looking for another serial killer who left three dead in the city of Tampa in October. — AFP