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Suspect in Fatal Stabbing Is Identified

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Police on Thursday identified a suspect in a Christmas Day attack in which one man was stabbed to death and two others injured, describing him as a transient released from a state prison less than one month ago, authorities said.

Felipe Escobar Villalba, 21, is wanted in the death of Jose Lopez, 30, who was killed when a fight broke out among the four men who were drinking at a home in the 6600 block of Etiwanda Street in Reseda, said Detective Rick Swanston of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Lopez died from multiple stab wounds to the chest. Jose Ojeda, 32, was stabbed in the face and chest when he attempted to stop the attack on Lopez. He fled to his Nestle Avenue home, where family members called for an ambulance.

A third man, Jose Alcala, 31, also tried to stop the fight. He was treated at a Northridge hospital for an arm wound and released.

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Villalba, who was released from a state prison in Tehachapi on Dec. 4, also is wanted in connection with robberies at two 7-Eleven stores in Reseda, Swanston said.

Police arrested Villalba on a trespassing charge Dec. 10, but released him because he used a phony name, Swanston said.

Villalba, who answers to the nickname “Moreno,” also has used the alias Miguel Preleta. He is described as a Latino man, about 5 feet, 4 inches tall, weighing 150 pounds. He has a tattoo of a woman on his right arm and the letters “FY” on his left arm.

Police asked that anyone with information on his whereabouts contact West Valley homicide detectives at 989-8546.

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