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Residents shocked to learn of homicide in Palm Springs neighborhood

Update 09/08/21

Police announced an arrest has been made in this case. Evidence linked the same suspect to two separate murders that occurred in the city months apart.

Full Story: Man arrested in connection with two separate Palm Springs murders

Original Report 08/08/21

Some Palm Springs residents are shaken up after learning that their neighborhood, which many have described as safe, became the scene of a homicide investigation.

On Saturday the Palm Springs Police Department released limited details about an investigation into an 'unattended death' they responded to on Friday, July 30 at Via Colusa near Hermosa Drive. They later ruled the case a homicide. No other information was released, but it was enough to cause concern for residents living nearby.

"It's very disconcerting, it's very scary to know that something like this is happening in the neighborhood," said neighbor, Richard Khanbegian.

"We haven’t seen any police activity here or anything else so it’s even hard to know that went on," neighbor, Michael Smith said.

Smith didn't recall seeing a police presence the day investigators were on scene.

"I’m home all the time, usually at nighttime a lot. I didn’t actually see any commotion or anything going on over there so I’m shocked that it was right in our neighborhood," Smith said.

Many neighbors that spoke with News Channel 3 shared the same sentiment of shock, while another neighbor, who chose not to go on camera, said he wasn't surprised considering how close they are to the downtown area.

"I wish it wasn’t, but it did happen and it makes you concerned and makes you more aware to be more careful-- who you’re seeing around, who comes around," Khanbegian said.

As of Sunday police were staying tight-lipped on the case. They didn't release any further details about the victim, how they died, or whether investigators had leads on a suspect.

The murder marks the sixth homicide for Palm Springs this year, which is up from a total of five homicides in 2020.

In January police also responded to another unattended death on the 2800 Block of Davis Way. The investigation, which was initially deemed suspicious, was later ruled a homicide. The victim was identified as 59-year-old Jennifer Dillon. No arrests have been made in that case.

"I think our city is getting bigger and bigger all the time and I see people coming in from out of town and a lot of people visiting here. A lot of people have moved here. I think we just need more police presence in the city because we have more people than we had before," Smith said.

Smith said he'd like to see more bicycle patrols when temperatures cool down. But with PSPD dealing with staffing shortages and struggling to onboard new hires, it may take a while before that happens.

The uptick in crime has become a very sobering reality for residents, including Khanbegian, who found out about the latest homicide through the Nextdoor app.

"I never ever thought that something like that would happen in this neighborhood but I guess crime is finding its way into everyone’s lives one way or another," he said.

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Shelby Nelson


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