FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --The woman was found in the doorway of the Mission Life Church, a storefront operation on Blackstone at around three Friday morning-- bleeding from head wounds; she died before paramedics arrived.
"Based upon the injuries the female in fact had, they determined the case was in fact a homicide," said Lt. David Madrigal, Fresno Police Department.
The victim, a middle aged woman, was frequently seen in the neighborhood.
"I'm pretty sure it's the lady I seen yesterday. Because she's always in this area. I hate to hear that kind of stuff," said Tony Thompson who works nearby.
Thompson runs the barbeque grill at a restaurant right across the street from the church. He says homeless often sleep under the church's awning.
"They are just trying to take shelter, find someplace safe to sleep."
But staying safe is getting tougher for the homeless. This is the third homicide of a homeless person in the past six weeks.
"We've always had that, where a homeless person has been seriously injured, or killed, usually by another homeless person, but I haven't seen this many," said Madrigal.
Police don't know what's behind this surge in homeless deaths. But Jody Ketcheside, who works to help the homeless through the Fresno Madera Continuum of Care group, notes the homeless are frequent victims of violence.
"It's terrible, but it does happen quite often. Anyone who is on the streets is at a much, much, much higher rate of being victimized."
Police believe the woman's death may be connected to the stabbing of a middle aged Hispanic man that occurred a few hours earlier in the same neighborhood.
"We believe there is a correlation between the two, the two crimes, but we are having to put that together," said Madrigal.
The man who was stabbed is expected to recover. He's in the hospital and police are hoping he can provide a clue as to who attacked him and who killed the woman.