DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) — A homeless man grabbed a large butcher knife off the shelf at a downtown L.A. Target store and stabbed two people – including a young boy – before he was fatally shot by a security guard, police say.
The terrifying attack unfolded around 6:20 p.m. Tuesday at a popular shopping complex near Figueroa and 7th streets.
Police say a homeless man entered the Target store and grabbed a butcher knife with a 9-inch blade off a shelf.
He approached a 9-year-old boy in the store and told him he was going to kill him, according to LAPD Chief Michel Moore.
“(He) confronted him and told the young boy he was going to stab him and kill him,” Moore said. “He repeated that more than once. The young child attempted to flee and leave, ignore him, move away. The suspect without any further provocation suddenly attacked and stabbed this child in the back.”
The child suffered a deep wound to the back of his shoulder and fell on the floor.
The suspect then moved along in the store and came across a group of women. He stabbed one woman, about age 25, “brutally” in the chest, Moore said. Some good Samaritans came to her rescue, pulling her away to the pharmacy area of the store and closing the gate.
The suspect then moved toward the front of the store, where he was confronted by an armed Target security guard.
The guard at first tried to de-escalate the situation and was going to use his baton but switched to his gun as the suspect advanced on him with the knife, Moore said.
The security guard shot the man at least once in the torso and he fell to the floor.
Some LAPD officers happened to be in the area of the shopping complex on another call and quickly rushed to the scene, taking the suspect into custody.
In the meantime, “mayhem” broke out inside the store as frightened customers fled. One woman was trampled in the stampede and bruised in her face.
Initial reports described her at first as a third stabbing victim, and later indicated she may have been punched by the suspect. But Moore clarified that further investigation indicated she was injured in the chaotic aftermath.
The suspect was transported to a local hospital. At a later press conference, Moore said the suspect had died.
LAPD added that the suspect has no relationship with the victims.
Customers described a frightening and bloody scene shortly before LAPD officers stormed the store and customers were told to evacuate.
“Out of nowhere, we heard people screaming,” said Kevin Zaragoza, who was shopping at the store with his brother. “We rushed to the front. Right there by the exit we see a girl on the floor, blood all over her.”
“After that, we see the whole LAPD swarming in there with shotguns, all types of stuff. It was crazy.”
Moore said the boy underwent surgery and was in stable condition, but may have suffered potential neurological damage.
The woman who was stabbed was undergoing surgery for what was described as a deep stab wound to her chest.
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