Investigators working to identify and track down a man who fatally assaulted a well-liked transient in downtown Ocean Beach released surveillance-camera footage of the suspected killer Friday.
The suspect — a white or Hispanic man dressed in baggy blue jeans and a white or gray hooded sweat shirt — attacked 65-year-old Walter “Ras” Riley in the 1900 block of Bacon Street shortly before 12:30 a.m. Thursday, according to San Diego police.
A security camera at a nearby business captured images of the suspect shortly before the fatal assault took place.
After mortally injuring Riley, the assailant fled a short distance to the south, then to the east on Newport Avenue, Lt. Mike Holden said.
The victim — an Ohio native nicknamed “the Incense Man” due to his practice of selling aromatic burning sticks at local farmers markets — was taken to UCSD Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Authorities have withheld the cause of Riley’s death, citing concerns over compromising the investigation. The motive for the slaying is unknown, the lieutenant said.
Riley was a peaceful and friendly fixture on the streets of his adopted coastal hometown, according to area residents and merchants.
Anyone with information about the case was asked to call San Diego County Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477. Tipsters may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.
—City News Service
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