EAST WHITTIER, Calif. (KABC) -- Authorities on Wednesday asked for the public's help in finding a man wanted in connection with two separate assaults of elderly victims, one of them a fatal stabbing, in the Whittier area.
Deputies on Tuesday afternoon responded to an East Whittier home in the 15300 block of Goodhue Street, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
They found an elderly man on the floor with apparent stab wounds, authorities said. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Neighbors identified the man as 83-year-old Rolland Alexander.
"He was a veteran... very funny guy. Very nice. Very friendly," said neighbor Lori Kevorkin of the victim. "He was just a really good person."
At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Sheriff Robert Luna displayed security video indicating the suspect had entered the fatally injured man's residence through an unlocked door on Monday afternoon. Luna said the suspect fled a couple of minutes later in the victim's vehicle -- described as a silver Toyota RAV4, license number VPH289 -- which has since been recovered in the city of Chino.
"Based on the surveillance video, we believe the murder occurred on Aug. 28 at approximately 2:45 p.m.," Luna said.
Security photos showed the victim's vehicle being driven in Ontario around 3 a.m. Tuesday, Luna said, and also showed it parked in Chino about three hours later.
"We believe the suspect has been driving around in this vehicle for at least a day -- maybe a night -- and if anybody saw this vehicle anywhere between the area of Whittier, all the way out to the area of, potentially, Chino or Ontario, please notify our homicide detectives immediately," the sheriff said.
Detectives believe the suspect also assaulted another elderly man after entering through an unlocked door at a home in the 15500 block of Fernview Street in the city of Whittier, a few minutes before the homicide. That residence is located several blocks away from the homicide victim's home, Luna said, adding that the suspect fled when the victim's son intervened in the first attack.
"We believe there is a public safety risk," said Luna. "This individual has committed at least two violent assaults on what appears to be two elderly individuals, and he entered through an open door in both residences."
The suspect was described as a man with facial hair, possibly in his 30s, about 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing 150 pounds, with short hair. The man, who may be homeless, wore dark pants and a tan shirt, Luna said.
Meanwhile, neighbors told ABC7 they're horrified and by the random act of violence.
"I've lived here for 45 years and nothing like this has ever happened in our area," said a resident.
Others say crimes like this are happening more often.
"Yes, it scares me, but times are bad right now," said resident Manuel Ochoa. "Things like this are happening regularly. It's a terrible situation."
Anyone with information on the case is urged to call the Sheriff's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.