Man Arrested in Connection With Gardena Homicide

A 23-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a Gardena homicide investigation after a man was found dead on a sidewalk in Gardena Thursday morning. 

Officers initially responded to reports of a hit-and-run around 5:30 a.m. Thursday morning.

Although authorities do not know how the man died, they said they are investigating his death as a homicide due to the circumstances of his death, and because of the time when someone called to report the incident.

"It's very unusual. It's very unusual they way he is, laying on the sidewalk the time of day, said Lt. Steve Prendergrast of the Gardena Police Department. "It doesn't appear to be that he died of natural causes."

The man was found lying on the sidewalk on Vermont Avenue at 149th Street in Gardena, according to the Los Angeles Police Department's South Traffic Division.

The victim was later identified as Robert Mello, 49, of Gardena. 

Larry Wainscott, a transient from Hawaiian Gardens, was arrested and charged with murder on Friday. 

Police believe Wainscott used a cutting instrument to stab Bello to death. 

A portion of Vermont Avenue between 149th Street and Marine Avenue was closed for the investigation and remained closed around 11 a.m. Thursday.

A memorial fund was set up in the victim's name. 

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