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Police Identify Homicide Suspect

***UPDATE 5:54 PM ***Prosecutors charge a 33-year-old Sedalia man with first degree murder for the deadly assault at Columbia’s VA Hospital.Police say Rudy Perez, Jr. Is responsible for the death of 78-year-old Robert Hill of Warsaw. They say Perez beat Hill Friday night.Columbia Police Sgt. Joe Bernhard said, “This is not the usual way a homicide investigation goes.”He says it’s rare when Columbia Police are called to the VA for any kind of incident, let alone a homicide. The hospital has it’s own police officers, one who happened to be nearby friday night.”There was a VA police officer close by when it all happened at 6:30 Friday,” Bernhard said. “I guess they immediately began investigating the assault.”He couldn’t say whether the two men knew each other or what led to the assault.ABC 17 News found out Rudy Perez Jr. is no stranger to the law. Court records show he was released from the Pettis County Jail just last week on January 30. That same day Sedalia police say Perez was involved in another assault. They say when a man answered his door bell, Perez punched him, and continued to assault him inside the home leaving the victim bleeding from the face. It was just two days later v-a investigators began to look at Perez as a murder suspect.”When they took it to their federal prosecutor they next day, he realized it was not their jurisdiction,” Sgt. Bernhard said.That’s how Columbia Police were called in. VA officers will continue to assist in the investigation.Right now Perez is not in police custody. Police says he’s currently in a local, secure facility for evaluation, that’s where he’s been since that deadly attack here friday night.***ORIGINAL STORY***Columbia police have identified the suspect in a homicide at the VA Hospital Friday.Officers issued a warrant for Rudy Perez Jr., 33, of Sedalia, for first-degree murder. A cash-only bond has been set at $1 million.Earlier Monday, police identified the victim as Robert Hill, 78, of Warsaw, Mo.Officials with Columbia police confirmed Hill was assaulted at the hospital around 6:30 p.m. Friday and died around 10:30 p.m. later that night. There were no weapons used in the assault.The investigation is now being handled by the criminal investigations unit with the Columbia Police Department and the criminal division of the Office of Inspector General.

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