Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

L.A. Homeless Man Arrested with Two Machine Guns

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

L.A. Homeless Man Arrested with Two Machine Guns

Article excerpt

A homeless man who had five firearms, including two working World War II-era machine guns, was arrested over the weekend and arraigned on Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department said Wednesday.

Deputies on foot patrol at a homeless encampment near the Harbor City neighborhood discovered 57-year-old Richard Cunningham with the machine guns and three pistols, Sheriff's Detective Dennis Elmore told the Associated Press.

Mr. Cunningham, who the authorities said had been previously convicted of a felony, also had high-capacity magazines for the machine guns inside a tent at the homeless encampment He faces a series of charges for possessing the guns and the ammunition, though details of his previous conviction were not disclosed.

The case comes in the wake of several incidents where police have recovered guns or been involved in shooting incidents with homeless people.

In one case, a homeless man allegedly living illegally in the US found a gun that reportedly belonged to a federal agent on a San Francisco pier, and then shot a young woman walking on the pier with her father, killing her.

The case proved controversial because the man, Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez, was a Mexican immigrant who had reportedly been deported from the US five times, including for felony drug charges, raising a debate about San Francisco's so-called sanctuary law, which limits cooperation between federal, state, and local law enforcement, The Christian Science Monitor reported in July.

The case briefly gained attention from several presidential candidates, including Donald Trump, who is known for his tough stances on immigration, including characterizing Mexican immigrants as being "rapists" and bringing crime to the US.

But in another case, a homeless man was praised after finding a duffel bag full of weapons stolen from a Massachusetts Army reserve center in a Bronx park and returning them to police in New York.

In Los Angeles, there has also been debate about policing of areas with large homeless populations after a shooting of one man by police in March. In that case, police shot and killed a homeless man who grabbed for an officer's gun in March. …

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