Arrest made in connection to poisoned food given to homeless people in Huntington Beach

A homeless Army veteran is seen near the dog beach in Huntington Beach in the early hours of Feb. 13, 2019.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

An arrest has been made after a series of poisonings targeted homeless individuals in Huntington Beach, sending several to the hospital, authorities said on Friday.

The Orange County district attorney’s office issued an advisory that it will be holding a joint news conference Monday at 10 a.m. with the city of Huntington Beach and the county of Orange to further discuss an ongoing investigation into the matter.

Kimberly Edds, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, said that eight victims have been identified so far (there have been no deaths reported). The food poisonings are not considered to be a countywide issue, as all of them occurred in Huntington Beach. She added that one adult arrest has been made in relation to the food poisonings, which she said began in mid-May.

Homeless people received food laced with oleoresin capsicum, considered to be “twice as strong as the pepper spray used by police,” the announcement said. The statement also said that the reaction of those who were given the poisoned food were filmed.

“The victims suffered a variety of symptoms including seizure-like symptoms, difficulty breathing, vomiting, and intense mouth and stomach pain,” the release said. “Several of the victims required hospitalization.”

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