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'Western Bandit' Suspect Accused Of 2 Murders, Serial Shootings Arrested

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Police have arrested a man they believe is the "Western Bandit" and the killer of a transgender woman who was shot in 2011. Last Thursday, police arrested 51-year-old Patrick Watkins, a man they believe is the Western Bandit. He was taken into custody at his South L.A. home and booked on suspicion of 53 total counts, including two counts of murder and 24 counts of attempted murder, CBS Los Angeles reports.

Authorities say the so-called Western Bandit terrorized Western Avenue from Hollywood to South Los Angeles, committing a number of armed robberies beginning in 2011. They also believe that Watkins murdered 32-year-old Cassidy Vickers, a transgender woman who was shot and killed near Lexington Ave. and Gower St. in 2011. Larise Smith, 53, was killed in 2014 on West 42nd Street in Leimart Park as he was walking his dog. The robberies typically targeted various businesses and occurred late at night, between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. Authorities said that the robber often traveled via bike, and was "very violent" and quick to use a gun.

LAPD Capt. Billy Hayes said that in the 23 total crimes linked to Watkins, he is believed to have fired a gun in 21 of them, the L.A. Times reports. Some victims were shot at several times while he snatched anything he could.

DNA evidence is what linked Watkins to Vickers' death, according to LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. Authorities say they also found a handgun that they believe may have been used during the crimes.

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that the moniker 'Western Bandit' failed to "capture the fear and actions of this man. He's a cold-blooded killer, somebody who terrorized the streets of Los Angeles for too long."