Oceanside Man Known for Helping Homeless Killed in His Apartment

Ian Spencer, 21, is under arrest for murder and assault on an officer

An Oceanside man who was killed in his apartment last month was known for helping the homeless. According to police, his suspected killer is a young homeless man that the victim had taken under his wing.

On April 18, at around 8:50 a.m., the body of Donald Ross, 73, was found inside his apartment in the 300 block of S. Myers Street.

The Oceanside Police Department (OPD) determined the victim's death was a homicide.

Ross' suspected killer, Ian Spencer, 21, was arrested on May 1 after an altercation with a police officer in which he allegedly head-butted the officer, the OPD said.

According to investigators, Ross had been helping Spencer -- who was homeless -- by sometimes giving him a place to stay.

Ross' nextdoor neighbor, Christine Canelias, told NBC 7 that Ross was known for letting homeless men and women stay at his apartment.

"Anybody that didn't have a place to live, he would let them [stay with him]," Canelias said. "He was known as 'Uncle Don.'"

Canelias said Spencer stayed with Ross on and off over the last few years but, more recently, Ross wanted him out.

After Ross' body was discovered in the apartment, Spencer was nowhere to be found, until about a week later.

"Someone was trying to break in, on the metal part and open up the window," Canelias said. 

After hearing the commotion next door, Canelias said she called police, who found Spencer just steps away from Ross' apartment.

"They were cuffing him and he jumped up and head-butted the police officer in the face," Canelias said.

The officer suffered minor injuries, the OPD said. Spencer is in jail facing charges for murder and assault on an officer.

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