Suspect arrested in fatal shooting of homeless man in Venice


A man who witnesses said shot a homeless man to death and wounded a second at the order of a Venice hotel owner has been arrested, Los Angeles police announced Friday.

On Monday, the FBI fugitive task force arrested Francisco Cardenaz Guzman, 28, on suspicion of killing 26-year-old Jascent Warren about 2 a.m. Aug. 30. Guzman and the hotel owner, Sris Sinnathamby, 54, on Wednesday pleaded not guilty to murder and one count of attempted murder.

While Sinnathamby is out of custody after posting $5-million bail, Guzman remains in jail. His bail is set at $3 million. The pair are due back in court Oct. 14 to have a date set for their preliminary hearing.


Sinnathamby was arrested first, just hours after the shooting. At a court appearance last month, Deputy Dist. Atty. Kristin Trutanich said Sinnathamby “aided, abetted and directed” the deadly shooting, even if he didn’t pull the trigger. Arguing for $5-million bail, Trutanich said the Sri Lankan native posed a flight risk.

Sinnathamby’s attorney, Alan Jackson, acknowledged his client was involved in a verbal dispute outside his Cadillac Hotel but said someone else was the actual perpetrator.

In the days since the shooting, flowers, candles and photos formed a memorial near where Warren died along the boardwalk.

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A witness, Kiva Blount, recounted what led up to the shooting to The Times in early September.

She said she heard Sinnathamby shout at a homeless man near the boardwalk.

“I don’t know what happened, but he snapped,” Blount said.

Warren, whose facility with words earned him the nickname Shakespeare, tried to intervene and ease the tension, she said.


At some point, a gunman, who police say was Guzman, approached Sinnathamby, and the hotel owner used a racial slur.

The gunman began shooting at the crowd of mostly black homeless people, Blount and another witness said. The gunman fired several shots and stopped to reload, she said.

“He was shooting like a madman,” Blount said, adding that the gunman fled in a dark SUV.

Police on Friday declined to comment on what connection Sinnathamby may have with Guzman.

When the shooting stopped, Blount said, she tied a T-shirt tourniquet around the leg of the wounded man, who was not publicly identified. When she turned to Warren, he was already dead, she said.

Some of the homeless people began attacking Sinnathamby, prompting him to run into his hotel and lock the door, she said. After police arrived, he was escorted out of the hotel.

Times staff writers Javier Panzar and Matt Hamilton contributed to this report.

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna.



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