Second Fatal Stabbing in Skid Row

September 6, 2007

Los Angeles: Los Angeles detectives are asking the public’s help in providing any information about the fatal stabbing of a man in Skid Row Tuesday night. Michael Bell, 47, was found lying on the sidewalk around 11:45 PM on September 4, 2007. Bell later died at the hospital.

"It appeared he was stabbed in the chest," said Lieutenant Paul Vernon, head of the Central Detective Division. "We found video footage that showed Bell coming down the sidewalk over 30 minutes before someone realized he was in distress. Critical time went by before a passerby realized he was not just asleep on the sidewalk."

This was the second fatal stabbing in Skid Row since the beginning of the Safer Cities Initiative began nearly one year ago, September 17, 2007. Homicide occurrences now stand at six, still four less than the same period last year. Police credit a nearly 30-percent reduction in major crime to the initiative’s efforts, spearheaded by Mayor Villaraigosa and Police Chief William Bratton.

After two days of investigating the most recent stabbing, detectives have little to go on. Bell lived at a single-resident-occupancy hotel, named the San Pedro House, which was one block south of where he was found.

"We clear a lot of crimes downtown thanks to local residents stepping up with information," Vernon said. "We hope someone will come forward in this case. We just need a small lead to point us to a suspect."

Anyone with information is asked to call Central Area Detectives at 213-972-1203 during normal business hours.During after hours and on weekends, phone the 24-hour toll-free Detective Information Desk at 1-877-ASK-LAPD (529-3855).

Tuesday night’s stabbing was the second fatal stabbing within Skid Row in as many weeks, and it was the third homicide within Skid Row since the Safer Cities Initiative began. On August 26, a man was arrested in the stabbing of another man who died. The suspect was later released after the investigation determined he acted in self defense. The first Skid Row homicide was reported that same day when a mother was arrested in the death of her two-month-old infant due to neglect. The mother and child had been living on Skid Row, in and out of shelters for some time.