A Leimert Park transient identified as exhibiting bizarre behavior and threatening the merchants in Leimert Park Village has been captured.
The transient, who had been disturbing business owners and visitors on Degnan Avenue for at least three years, was apprehended on Dec. 26 during the park’s annual Kwanzaa parade.
“He’s been an ongoing problem for a while,” said Sgt. Carl Taylor of the Southwest Police Division, who described the man as a person with mental problems. Taylor said that the transient had spent time in mental institutions.
The transient, who was known for wearing his trademark dark jacket and yellow headdress, was often seen grabbing newspapers from racks and throwing them into the streets. Laura Hendrix, owner of Gallery Plus, said that the transient frequently “trashed” Leimert Park.
“One time I heard that he took a trash can to the laundromat on 43rd Place and he dumped the whole trash can in the middle of the laundromat. Another time, I saw him in McDonald’s where he had verbally assaulted a customer. She was in tears. The employees in McDonalds came outside to see about her,” said Hendrix.
Thomas Hamilton and James Fugate, co-owners of Eso Won books, expressed relief that the transient, whose name was not released, was apprehended. “He threw garbage all over the place,” said Hamilton. “I’m glad he’s gone.”
Hendrix said that several months ago, she had a particularly disturbing encounter with the transient, who would often stroll through Leimert Park mumbling and cursing under his breath. “One day he came to my store and said that he would kill me and burn me down,” said Hendrix. “I immediately filed a complaint with the Southwest police division. You never know when someone is going to follow up on their threats or when these guys are going to come back and get you.”
The transient, who is now behind bars, is now facing charges with the city attorney’s office.
Sgt. Taylor said that the police are aware of the transient problem in the Leimert Park area and that they are planning to conduct regular transient sweeps through the park.
But he pointed out that there are no laws forbidding transients to loiter in the park. “When we see them setting up encampments at night, we give them citations and then they must remove themselves from the park,” he said.