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First Santa Monica Homicide of the Year Remains Unsolved
Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark
Roque & Mark Real Estate
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Santa Monica, CA 90404
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Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica


By Hector Gonzalez
Special the The Lookout

May 2, 2016 -- Almost a month after a 35-year-old man was found stabbed to death in the middle of the afternoon on April 5 at a 46-unit apartment building in the heart of Downtown Santa Monica, the City's first homicide of 2016 remains an unsolved mystery.

No one has been charged in the case, and a county coroner's official Saturday said authorities continue withholding the name of the victim because they so far have been unable to contact his relatives to notify them of his death.

Officials listed the victim's place of residence as “unknown, homeless.”

Police released the only identified suspect in the homicide -- a 40-year-old man who lived in one of the studio apartments at the Step Up at 5th building in the 1500 block of 5th Street.

Although police arrested the man within hours of the stabbing, the county district attorney's office rejected the case “based on insufficiency of evidence,” Sgt. Rudy Camarena, the Santa Monica Police Department's former public information officer, told The Lookout on April 14.

Since then, police have made no other arrests and have released no new information about the homicide.

In an April 7 release announcing the killing, Camarena said detectives were confident people in the building must have seen or heard something that might help their case and asked anyone with information to call detectives.

But on Saturday, several people entering and leaving the secured building -- also known as the Zev Yarovslavky Building -- who identified themselves as tenants, all said they knew nothing about the homicide.

One resident walked from the building wearing a sign asking for spare change. He stared blankly and mumbled unintelligibly when asked if knew about the fatal stabbing in his building.

The building's office was closed, as was an adjacent community room.

Next door to Step Up on 5th, construction was going on a new multi-story building, disrupting the sidewalks along 5th Street.

Futher up the street, Expo Light Rail trains tested the tracks and the stop signals at the Colorado Station. Homeless people walked around the busy area, mingling with younger back-packing hostel travelers in this eastern part of Downtown.

Built by the nonprofit homeless services and housing provider Step Up on Second, Step Up on 5th opened in February 2009.

The three-story, 30,000-square-foot building provides affordable housing for chronically homeless and homeless mentally ill people, who also receive supportive services through Step Up, according to an agency.

Step Up also has operated the Day/Recover center in Downtown Santa Monica for more than two decades, providing meals, showers, mail services, vocational training, mental health and other services.

Fewer homeless people were counted this January during the City's 2016 Homeless Count, from 738 in 2015 to 738 this year, (“Santa Monica's Homeless Population Declines,” March 2, 2016).

Those numbers include homeless people living in shelters, but the number of people living in the street rose this year to 416, compared to 402 in 2015.

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