San Diego

Man Charged in Homeless Killings Tells NBC7 He's Innocent

The suspect has been linked to attacks on four homeless people in the last week

A man arrested in a series of violent homeless killings told NBC 7 San Diego he is innocent. 

"I look like that person, I'm innocent," said Anthony Alexander Padgett, 36, of Chula Vista, from the back of a police patrol car. 

San Diego Police Department (SDPD) Homicide Division Capt. David Nisleit announced Thursday that authorities had arrested Padgett on allegations of murder and attempted murder in a series of violent killings against homeless San Diegans. 

“At this time, we have probable cause to arrest Mr. Padgett for these heinous crimes,” Nisleit said.

But as the patrol car carrying Padgett in the back pulled up at the jail, Padgett fought back. 

When asked how he would be defending himself, Padgett yelled back, "innocent," as the car drove off. 

Padgett was arrested around 10 a.m. Thursday near Broadway and H Street in Chula Vista. Nisleit said police believe Padgett is responsible for killing two homeless men and critically injuring two others, leaving them with significant trauma to their upper bodies. 

Read more about the attacks here. 

A source confirmed Padgett was arrested in 2010 for setting a homeless man on fire. 

Nisleit said investigators believe Padgett is the same man spotted on surveillance footage buying gasoline minutes before a homeless man was set on fire Sunday, the first in the series of killings. 

On Monday July 11, homicide investigators announced Padgett had been released from custody because officials said they have examined the evidence in the case and found reason to exclude Padgett as a suspect.

No motive has been assigned to the attacks.

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