Suspected serial killer arrested for murdering three homeless men

Authorities in Florida arrested a suspected serial killer accused of targeting five homeless men and murdering three of them.

Nathaniel Petgrave, a 22-year-old security guard who is also homeless, admitted to using a gun and other weapons — including a machete and handsaw — to murder men living on the streets in Lauderhill and Fort Lauderdale, the Sun Sentinel reported.

Florida police have been hunting for a suspect in the string of slayings since Oct. 20, when a pair of sleeping homeless men were shot at an abandoned gas station in Lauderhill, Interim Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione said during a press conference Wednesday.

Larry Scott, 65, died on the scene while the second unnamed victim remains hospitalized in critical condition.

The following day, detectives learned of a similar murder in Fort Lauderdale that had been captured on video.

RELATED: 4 serial killers who were never caught

5 PHOTOS
4 serial killers who were never caught
See Gallery
4 serial killers who were never caught
The Texarkana Moonlight Murderer: The killer, who was never identified, is credited with terrorizing the town of Texarkana, Texas in 1946 by attacking eight people in ten weeks, creating panic.

Béla Kiss, the Vampire of Czinkota: This accused Hungarian serial killer is believed to have murdered at least two dozen women and kept their bodies in giant metal drums. He eluded police for years.

(Getty Images)

The Servant Girl Murders: Three years before Jack the Ripper began his deadly attacks across the ocean, a killer preyed upon the city of Austin, Texas in the 1880s. He would attack men and women in their beds, although not all of his victims died. According to reports more than 400 men were arrested over the years for the crimes, but no one was ever convicted.

(RapidEye via Getty Images)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

In the clip, Petgrave is reportedly seen speaking with 50-year-old John Jackson by the Dixie Food Store around 1 a.m. on Oct. 21. He was killed by a single gun shot to the head fired at close range.

Maglione added that detectives believe Petgrave fired an additional shot at someone else before he allegedly murdered Jackson.

Using a photo taken from the footage, an employee at a Lauderhill homeless center was able to identify Petgrave and told police where he ate and did laundry.

Authorities discovered the third murder victim on Oct. 27 around 10:30 a.m. The body of Derick Westley Tucker — who had been temporarily homeless and sleeping in a Public Storage unit in Fort Lauderdale — beside a bloodied nine-pound pipe vice, machete and handsaw, according to the Sentinel.

The message “4 STOP WAIT TIME” was written in blood on the floor next to Tucker’s body, according to the police report.

Authorities suspect Petgrave believed he had killed his fourth victim and was unaware one of his earlier shooting victims survived.

Detectives eventually found Petgrave driving a black Chevrolet pickup truck that had been stolen in Miami Gardens in September. While in custody, he confessed to taking the construction tools and killing Tucker, police told the Sentinel.

“This individual did kill three,” Maglione said during the Wednesday press conference. “So I guess by dictionary definition he would qualify as a serial killer.”

Authorities added they did not believe Petgrave was targeting homeless people but picked his victims because they “were just available at the time he was out.”

RELATED: The most violent states ranked by homicide

51 PHOTOS
The most violent states by homicide ranking
See Gallery
The most violent states by homicide ranking

Hawaii: no data

(Photo via Getty Images)

1. Least homicidal - New Hampshire

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 1.23
2015: 0.96

(Photo via Getty Images)

2. Rhode Island

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 2.24
2015: 0.99

(Photo via Shutterstock)

3. Maine

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: no data
2015: 1.14

(Photo via Getty Images)

4. Massachusetts

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 2.18
2015: 1.26

(Photo via Getty Images)

5. Utah

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 1.64
2015: 1.29

(Photo via Getty Images)

6. Idaho

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 1.14
2015: 1.29

(Photo via Getty Images)

7. Iowa

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 1.44
2015: 1.62

(Photo via Getty Images)

8. North Dakota

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: no data
2015: 1.69

(Photo via Getty Images)

9. Vermont

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 2.35
2015: 1.76

(Photo via Getty Images)

10. Minnesota

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 1.45
2015: 1.77

(Photo via Getty Images)

11. South Dakota

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: no data
2015: 1.97

(Photo via Getty Images)

12. New York

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 9.57
2015: 2.07

(Photo via Getty Images)

13. Wyoming

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 2.27
2015: 2.16

(Photo via Getty Images)

14. Montana

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 2.52
2015: 2.17

(Photo via Getty Images)

15. Washington

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 2.39
2015: 2.32

(Photo via Getty Images)

16. Oregon

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 1.96
2015: 2.35

(Photo via Getty Images)

17. Connecticut

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 3.63
2015: 2.43

(Photo via Getty Images)

18. Colorado

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 2.94
2015: 2.46

(Photo via Getty Images)

19. Nebraska

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 1.93
2015: 2.67

(Photo via Getty Images)

20. West Virginia

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 4.62
2015: 2.89

(Photo via Getty Images)

21. Wisconsin

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 2.75
2015: 3.18

(Photo via Getty Images)

22. New Jersey

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 2.84
2015: 3.22

(Photo via Getty Images)

23. Virginia

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 5.54
2015: 3.29

(Photo via Getty Images)

24. Kansas

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 3.81
2015: 3.35

(Photo via Getty Images)

25. California

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 8.74
2015: 3.52

(Photo via Getty Images)

49. Louisiana

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 13.49
2015: 9.96

(Photo via Getty Images)

26. Arizona

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 5.57
2015: 3.56

(Photo via Getty Images)

27. Kentucky

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 4.59
2015: 3.96

(Photo via Getty Images)

28. Texas

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 10.43
2015: 4.04

(Photo via Getty Images)

29. Pennsylvania

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 3.88
2015: 4.34

(Photo via Getty Images)

30. Ohio

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 3.89
2015: 4.38

(Photo via Getty Images)

31. Nevada

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 7.15
2015: 4.49

(Photo via Getty Images)

32. North Carolina

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 8.25
2015: 4.54

(Photo via Getty Images)

33. Indiana

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 4.16
2015: 4.61

(Photo via Getty Images)

34. Florida

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 7.35
2015: 4.66

(Photo via Getty Images)

35. Michigan

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 7.95
2015: 4.74

(Photo via Getty Images)

36. New Mexico

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 5.34
2015: 4.79

(Photo via Getty Images)

37. Alaska

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 2.84
2015: 5.22

(Photo via Getty Images)

38. Arkansas

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 8.48
2015: 5.34

(Photo via Getty Images)

39. Illinois

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 7.91
2015: 5.45

(Photo via Getty Images)

40. Tennessee

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 7.69
2015: 5.71

(Photo via Getty Images)

41. Georgia

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 9.01
2015: 5.73

(Photo via Getty Images)

42. Oklahoma

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 4.90
2015: 5.87

(Photo via Getty Images)

43. Delaware

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 2.15
2015: 6.12

(Photo via Getty Images)

44. South Carolina

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 7.34
2015: 7.55

(Photo via Getty Images)

45. Maryland

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 8.07
2015: 7.69

(Photo via Getty Images)

46. Alabama

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 9.90
2015: 8.43

(Photo via Getty Images)

47. Missouri

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 7.54
2015: 7.92

(Photo via Getty Images)

48. Mississippi

Firearm-homicide rate: 
1991: 10.33
2015: 9.11

(Photo via Getty Images)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The suspect during his spree had been living in shelter he built on the corner of State Road 7 and Northwest Eighth place, where authorities found more than two dozen live rounds of 9 mm bullets.

Petgrave faces three counts of premeditated murder, committing or attempting to commit a felony that could cause death, armed burglary of a business and unarmed burglary of a vehicle.

He is being held without bail at Broward County jail.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.