He allegedly wrote "4 Stop Wait Time" in the blood of his fourth victim, Derick Tucker. Police also found a blood-covered handsaw and machete next to the body.
Police said Nathaniel Petgrave had been on a killing spree targeting homeless men in the Fort Lauderdale area.
Authorities said Petgrave shot and killed 65-year-old Larry Scott in neighboring Lauderhill on Oct. 20, killed 50-year-old John Jackson in Fort Lauderdale on Oct. 21 and killed Tucker in Fort Lauderdale in Oct. 27.
When detectives questioned Petgrave, they said he told them the number "4" written in blood was because he thought Tucker was the fourth person he killed.
What he did not know was his unnamed second victim, who was shot in the neck and left for dead, remains hospitalized in critical condition.
The victims were all homeless.
Petgrave, police said, was also homeless and lived in a makeshift shack in Plantation, just outside Fort Lauderdale.
He confessed to the murders but did not reveal why he targeted homeless men, according to police.
"We don't think he specifically targeted those victims for any reason other than their availability," Fort Lauderdale police Sgt. Steve Novak said.
Scott was shot while sleeping at an abandoned gas station in Lauderhill. The second man, who survived, was shot there the same morning.
The next morning, Jackson was shot in the head in the parking lot of a Dixie Food Store two blocks from Fort Lauderdale's police headquarters. A week later, Tucker was killed while sleeping in a Public Storage unit in Fort Lauderdale.
So how did police catch him?
Petgrave first encountered police in late September when he was firing a gun for target shooting.
An officer confiscated the weapon, but because Petgrave had a concealed weapons permit the gun was returned a few days later.
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