A homeless man in California recalled how he survived a brutal bolt cutter beating at the hands of alleged serial killer Ramon Escobar — just two days before the six-time deportee bludgeoned another transient to death.
The man, who identified himself as Salem, told FOX11 Los Angeles he was at a homeless encampment in Santa Monica on Sept. 22 when he first encountered Escobar, now charged in the beating deaths of at least three homeless men.
“He didn’t come up and introduce himself, he just came and tried to blend in with us, and to me that was a red flag, like a no-no,” Salam told the news station.
Salam said Escobar suddenly began attacking him with bolt cutters inside Salam’s tent.
Salam said he believes he was hit at least six times with bolt cutters. (FOX11)
“[I] got clobbered in the head with something heavy and hard, and all I could feel was the blood just dripping, cause I was bending down, and the blood was dripping into my eyes and the blows just kept coming,” Salam said.
“Once I realized he was trying to kill me, it was like, this is it,” he added.
Salam said the next moment he remembers is waking up in the hospital’s intensive care unit. He told FOX11 he believes he was hit at least six times — leaving him with a fractured skull, subdural bleeding, several gashes and fractured bones.
“I don’t know how I survived that, blows to the head with bolt cutters, you just can’t imagine the pain it feels like,” he said. “It was a serial killer I was facing, this guy’s a murderer, a crazy one.”
Salam’s family set up a GoFundMe page to help him pay for the hefty medical bills.
Escobar — dubbed a “violent predator” who was deported six times to El Salvador — was arrested two days after beating Salam. Police nabbed the 47-year-old after he allegedly beat a homeless man sleeping on the sidewalk. The unidentified man later died, leading prosecutors last Wednesday to seek a fourth murder charge against Escobar.
Ramon Alberto Escobar, with an unidentified attorney, appears at a hearing in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Sept. 26. (AP)
Escobar has already been charged with three counts of murder, five counts of attempted murder and four counts of second-degree robbery.
Investigators believe he bludgeoned men with a wooden baseball bat or bolt cutters as they slept on the beach or on the streets of Los Angeles and Santa Monica in order to rob them.
Houston police also want to question Escobar, 47, in the disappearance of his aunt and uncle, Dina and Rogelio Escobar, in Texas. He was initially not arrested because authorities did not suspect foul play.
Escobar has a long criminal history, including six felony convictions for burglary and illegal re-entry, but U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released him from custody after Escobar won an appeal in immigration court in 2016. It’s unclear how he won the case.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.