Monday, December 6, 2010

Spate of deaths in Homeless World Sacramento has people shaken

Last night at Union Gospel Mission, home­less people assemb­ling for the night’s sermon were met by police officers and detectives distributing fliers, titled “SPD Crime Alert,” relating to the homicide of Lloyd Hancock, a mission regular, also known as “Redhead Steve.”

The flier informed us that Hancock was kill­ed "during the morning hours" of Sunday, Dec 5. His body was found "under the 160 bridge near North­gate Blvd." [Blue marker in map.] At the SPD website, a "news release" informs us that Hancock’s body was found inside his sleeping bag, and had sustained trauma to the head.

The Sacramento Police Department Homicide Division seeks any information that might be helpful to its investigation.

Probably fully unrelated, but also deceased, is a man, possibly named Ray Murdoch, who died of a heroin overdose at the Safe Ground campsite in recent days. His body was found inside a tent that had needles all about. It is believed that others using the opiate may have scattered once it became apparent that Murdoch was having a bad experience.

Chatter at the mission was that use of drugs at the Safe Ground campsite has been considerable in recent weeks.
Update: I find no verification of this death online or at the 9-1-1 blog. Since I think the nature of the death would result in police interest, I now believe the activity and death described here to be unlikely to have happened and am striking it. Apolgies. I will make further inquiries and possibly need to do some eating of crow.

A third man is believed to have died from exposure to the cold of last week. He died in a remote area where he is believed to have been sleeping alone. His body was found, bundled in his sleeping bag, days after his death. [Update: The Sac Bee's 9-1-1 blog verifies this death. Per information that I didn't give, this third man's body was found in the vicinity of Hancock's. Police do not believe Hancock's and this man's death to be related.] [Further Update:  Per a source, ultimately leading back to Elizabeth Fernandez, this man -- whose name I still do not know -- is said to have died of an overdose.  Whether cold weather was an additional factor in the man's death, I now do not know.]

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