Jul 18,2007 00:00
LOS ANGELES -- Four teenagers have been charged with assaulting homeless people in Los Angeles with smoke bombs and air-gun pellets.
Police say the teens used their cell phones to record the attacks, apparently planning to put the video on the Internet. In one case, they allegedly threw a bicycle into a sleeping man's tent.
Three of the four were arrested Sunday after they threw a smoke bomb at a man sleeping on the street. His blanket began burning.
The fourth was picked up Monday at summer school.
Police say the teens, ages 15 to 17, had clean records.
Homeless advocates say attacking street people has a long history in Los Angeles. Two years ago, a man was put in a coma for three weeks after being hit with a baseball bat.
"There is a vulnerability to being out on the street. It's just a terrible situation," said Rebecca Isaacs, who heads the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.
Recently, hospitals have been investigated for dumping homeless patients, some still in pajamas, at shelters or on the street.
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