Three men are expected to be charged Friday in connection with the stabbing death of a woman next to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The three men, whom police describe as transients between 27 and 34 years old, were arrested in connection with the death of 23-year-old Christine Darlene Calderon after police said the men attacked her Tuesday night at Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue.
Charges are expected to be filed Friday with arraignment likely the same day, authorities said.
Authorities said Calderon was strolling down the Walk of Fame with a coworker after sunset when an amusing cardboard sign caught her eye. She pulled out her cellphone to snap a picture of men displaying signs asking for money with four-letter insults and a smiley face, they said.
Moments later, according to law enforcement sources, one of the men demanded that she pay $1 for the pictures.
When she refused, police say, two of the men allegedly pinned Calderon’s coworker against a wall.
The third jumped on top of Calderon, knocking her onto the pavement in front of an American Eagle Outfitters clothing store at the Hollywood and Highland retail and entertainment complex, police said.
When she got up to run away, authorities said, blood was gushing from a stab wound in her midsection.
She collapsed a few feet from the terrazzo Walk of Fame stars. She was pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center three hours later.
Her death in the heart of Hollywood’s tourist district stunned visitors and the collection of merchants and costumed impersonators who work along the boulevard.
Los Angeles police detained two men near the crime scene at midnight, and a third man was arrested hours later on suspicion of murder. Police said one of the three frequented the area but the other two are believed to come from out of state.
Police said they were interviewing witnesses and have yet to determine a motive for the slaying.
Despite the tourist attractions and upscale stores at Hollywood and Highland, people who work in the area say it still has a grittier side.
Recalling the incident, Ethan Lam, who was working at his kiosk near the crime scene, said he heard screams echo from the iconic intersection where throngs of tourists pour out of the Metro every day to snap photos of the TCL Chinese Theatre, actors dressed as Chewbacca and Spider-Man, and the Hollywood sign.
Lam said he ran toward the noise and found that a crowd had gathered around Calderon. She was wearing jeans and a white top, Lam said, adding that he saw several people clutching her stomach to try to stop the bleeding. When paramedics showed up, he said, her shirt was soaked red.
“It was right there, man,” Lam said Wednesday afternoon as he pointed to a few maroon droplets dried onto the clothing store’s wall.
Victor Guererro, a 25-year-old Mickey Mouse impersonator, said he has seen it all during the year and half he has worked on the Walk of Fame.
There have been fights and arrests, he said, adding that a few days ago he saw a homeless man grilling carne asada on a camping stove and selling tacos.
“Hay tanta locura,” he said. “There’s so much madness.”
[For the Record, 10:22 a.m. PDT, June 20, 2013: A previous version of this post reported that the three suspects would appear in court Thursday. They may appear in court Friday after charges are filed.]
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