By Dan Whitcomb
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A man arrested in the killing of an actor at the rented Los Angeles home of Canadian talk-show host George Stroumboulopoulos was a transient who is believed to have slain the victim during a burglary, police said on Wednesday.
The suspect, who has been identified by authorities only as an adult male, was taken into custody earlier this week in Arizona and was awaiting extradition to California, Los Angeles Police Department spokesman Norma Eisenman said.
“He was only in the city (of Los Angeles) for a few days. It appears, according to witnesses, that he had been door-knocking various homes and had attempted to burglarize a home next to the location where the victim’s home was,” Eisenman said.
Eisenman said items connected to the burglary of Stroumboulopoulos’ home had been recovered and that the suspect had a prior arrest, in another jurisdiction, for assaulting a police officer. She said the extradition from Arizona was expected to take about a week.
The body of 41-year-old Richard Hong was found at the home in the Hollywood Hills neighborhood in the early morning hours of Sept. 23 by police responding to reports of a burglary there.
Witnesses told police they had seen a man in a black jacket fleeing the area on foot. Police have not said how Hong was slain, but a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office said on Wednesday an autopsy had determined the cause of death to be blunt force trauma to the head.
Stroumboulopoulos, best known as the host of CBC talk show “George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight,” said on Twitter he flew from New York to Los Angeles immediately after being told of the murder.
“I only have a few details but it seems like it was the result of a break in,” he said on Twitter while en route to Los Angeles. “The victim was a dear friend of mine, who was staying at my place while I was away. I am heartbroken.”
He did not immediately comment on social media in response to reports of the arrest.
Stroumboulopoulos, 44, is one of Canada’s most recognized TV presenters and also served for two seasons as a host of “Hockey Night in Canada,” a fixture of Canadian television.
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Peter Cooney)