Fruit vendors set up their stands and a young lady cleaned up the windows of a clothing store yesterday morning as Santa Ana police detectives investigated the death of a homeless man just in front of the parking lot next to 4th Street Market. A white male said to be around 60 years of age was found dead around 7:35 a.m. by a woman who was returning from a workout and found him bleeding from his upper torso.
Police set up tape on the corner of Fourth and Bush Streets to keep people away. The only visible part of the crime scene was a black Reebok shoe about 10 feet from the corpse.
"We do not have enough information to determine if this was a suicide, if he was pushed off or assaulted so we are treating it as a suspicious death" says Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.
The Santa Ana Police didn't release his identity, but people who frequent 4th Street Market said he was a homeless man who had started hanging out downtown Santa Ana just recently.
"He had shown up around a week ago," said a witness. "It looked like he had just become homeless, because he was pretty clean. He'd walk around, and stare at the structure—I remember that."
"I saw him walking around the plaza at 7, he always walked around here [inside Market and around it] but he was never aggressive or confrontational," said one witness, who requested anonymity. "He never seemed to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol he would just walk around and mind his business."
A local worker remembers seeing the man the night before on the corner of Bush and 4th, near where he died. "He was standing there not really doing anything," he said, "but whenever he would walk around here, he would speak to himself so I figured he was mentally Ill."
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Two homeless men in their 30s sat on a curb sharing a cigarette two blocks down from the crime scene. "We don't know who he is, but whatever happened to him he didn't deserve it," said one of the men, who asked to remain anonymous. "Coming from a homeless man, its hard being homeless out here. If you're mentally ill, no one listens, no one helps. And if you're a drug user, you're denied the help."
He turned to the other man, who was wearing a hoodie, and shook his head. "All I can say is may he rest in peace and if this was a suicide, I hope people realize how desperate some of us are to get off the streets at whatever means necessary."