SANTA MONICA—The body of Steven Ray Cruze Jr., 38, of San Gabriel was found under the Santa Monica Pier by maintenance workers who alerted the Santa Monica Police Department at 6:40 a.m. on Thursday, September 20. Cruze was attacked while he was sleeping under the pier and died from blunt force trauma to the head.
NBC 4 News reported that Cruze enjoyed fishing at the pier at night and would sleep in a hammock under the pier. A vigil was held for Cruze at the pier on Saturday night.
The incident marks the fourth individual who has been attacked while sleeping outside in downtown Los Angeles within the past two weeks. This is the fourth homicide in the city of Santa Monica in 2018. Three other victims, were attacked on Sunday, September 16, who were homeless. They suffered blunt force trauma to the head after being attacked with a baseball bat. The LAPD released a video of the suspect that they are searching for in the attacks. Two of the victims died from their injuries, while the third remains in the hospital under critical condition.
Canyon News received an email from Raeleen Navarro, the cousin of Steven Cruze noting that he was not homeless as first reported by multiple news outlets.
Navarro noted that “Steven worked, he had a son he supported, and called his father everyday to let him know if he was coming home or not regarding his work. He helped the homeless a lot, he would take them food, clothes, sometimes even a fishing pole to fish next to him, he was the most giving person.”
Authorities have not indicated if the crimes are all connected, but the Santa Monica Police Department and Los Angeles Police Department are working together on the cases. Authorities are still searching for the suspect responsible for killing Cruze. The suspect has been described as a possible homeless man, either Caucasian or Hispanic with dark hair, wearing a blue hat, gray sweatshirt, black shorts, and white tennis shoes.
Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Leone at (310) 458-8943; Detective Goodwin at (310) 458-8942; or the Santa Monica Police Department at (310) 458-8481.