Police seek witnesses in fatal stabbing of homeless man featured in Times story

Charles Smith

Charles Smith stands near his belongings and makeshift tent under the Alvarado Street bridge of the 101 Freeway near Echo Park in a photo from June.

(Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times)

Police are looking for witnesses in the fatal stabbing of a 66-year-old man who lived under the 101 Freeway underpass at North Alvarado Street.

About 11 a.m. Monday, Charles Smith was found with apparent stab wounds, said LAPD Det. Ray Martinez. Smith was last seen alive about 11 p.m. Sunday.

Martinez said that Smith was well-known to the merchants and others who frequent the area.
“I’m sure somebody heard something,” he said.


In April, Martinez said, Smith was stabbed after an argument. No one was arrested in that incident, and police are looking into whether it is related to the fatal attack.

Smith was featured in the Los Angeles Times in June in an article about a City Council proposal to crack down on homeless encampments. The article outlined the possessions of homeless people.

Smith, an Air Force veteran, told The Times that he had lived in the neighborhood for 22 years and had been on the streets for the last year.


The government got Smith an apartment in Baldwin Hills in May, but Smith said he didn’t have a TV and “I don’t know anybody” there, so he came back to the underpass.

“It’s like a home away from home,” Smith said.

Smith collected rows of shoes, which he gave out to others in the area. Martinez found about 20 pairs of shoes while processing the crime scene this week.

Anyone with information is asked to call Martinez at (213) 484-3642. Those who wish to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.
For more crime news, follow @nicolesantacruz on Twitter.

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