3rd homeless person found dead at Sherman Oaks shopping center: 'It is traumatizing'

The most recent death occurred early Thursday morning near Moorpark Street and Van Nuys Boulevard.

Carlos Granda Image
Friday, January 20, 2023
3rd homeless person found dead at Sherman Oaks shopping center
EMBED <>More Videos

Three homeless people have died in the Sherman Oaks area in a week, according to a local business owner, who believes the city should be doing more to avoid such deaths.

SHERMAN OAKS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Three homeless people have died in the Sherman Oaks area in a week, according to a local business owner, who believes the city should be doing more to avoid such deaths.

The most recent death occurred early Thursday morning near Moorpark Street and Van Nuys Boulevard.

Angela Marsden, who owns a business in the area, called it "traumatizing" and told Eyewitness News she's upset because she claims she told city officials numerous times the deaths were inhumane.

"We've had three bodies in a week and a half, two right here, three dead people," she said. "It's not about politics. This is about human lives."

The paramedics who responded to Thursday's call apparently knew who the victim was.

One paramedic told ABC7 she used to walk around, pretending she had a phone in her hand and frequented the area. One man said the victim didn't look well but claims she wouldn't get help.

"So I told her when she got back, I said, 'You need to call the paramedics because you're not in good condition.'"

The latest recorded data from the Los Angeles Department of Public Health shows the number of homeless deaths has risen from about two a day in 2014 to almost five a day in 2020.

"What we do see, unfortunately, is an increase in fentanyl on our streets which has caused a higher level of overdoses," said Ken Craft with the Hope of the Valley, an organization that advocates for the homeless. "As the weather turns cold and hypothermia sets and we do see people dying."

Statistics show the leading cause of death among homeless people is drug overdoses, along with medical issues, homicide and suicide.

Meanwhile, Mayor Karen Bass responded to woman's death on Twitter, saying "This is exactly why I've declared a state of emergency. Successfully confronting the homelessness crisis is a matter of life and death."

Craft said it's a crisis and the city needs to get more beds and more shelters.

"I do believe the wheels are turning on moving in the direction, but we're not moving fast enough," Craft said.

Marsden said she sometimes speaks to people near her business and they often refuse offers for housing. She feels they have to be placed where they will be safe.

An official cause of death has not yet been released.