Man held in 'totally random' Covina stabbings, accused of hate crime

2 men stabbed in Covina retail parking lot; suspect arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, hate crime

A Latino man was arrested Saturday for allegedly stabbing two black men in the parking lot of a Covina shopping center, said police.  

Louis Vasquez, 19, of La Puente was booked on suspicion of attempted murder and a hate crime, police said. Vasquez is a gang member, according to authorities, but it's unclear whether the attack was gang-related.

Police said Vasquez stabbed one of the victims as he walked through the parking lot in the 100 block of North Azusa Avenue at about 7:40 p.m. The 27-year-old man suffered injuries to his right shoulder and left knee.

The other victim, an 18-year-old employee of a store in the shopping center, was stabbed in the back and right shoulder as he was collecting shopping carts.

The two victims did not know each other and have no gang affiliations, said Sgt. Gregg Peterson of the Covina Police Department.

“One was just an employee collecting carts. The other was a customer going to the store,” Peterson said. “Neither were gang-related. It was totally random.”

The attacker ran from the parking lot, according to police. Vasquez was arrested in the backyard of a home in the 800 block of West Edna Place, police said. Bail was set at $500,000.

Police are still investigating a possible motive for the attacks.

“He’s an admitted gang member,” Peterson said. But “there’s no evidence to show right now that the crime was committed to benefit the gang.”

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Covina Police Department’s detective bureau at (626) 384-5612. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (800-222-8477).

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