Victims of Kohl’s parking lot stabbing: a ‘doting father’ and a young woman ‘full of joy’

Officers apprehend a man without a shirt
Officers apprehend a man accused of stabbing two people outside a Kohl’s department store in Palmdale.

A young woman who was stabbed to death with her father at a Palmdale shopping center was remembered by her mother as a person who could “make friends with someone in five minutes.”

McKenna Evans, 22, and her father, Ken Evans, were working on a car they owned in the parking lot of a Kohl’s when they were attacked shortly before noon Thursday.

McKenna Evans, 22, is remembered by her mom as an "absolute delight".
McKenna Evans, 22, is remembered by her mom as an “absolute delight” - someone who could make friends with strangers within five minutes.
(Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Evans.)

Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies have arrested a man, who they said may be a transient, in connection with the stabbings.

Ken Evans, 54, died after being taken to a hospital, while authorities pronounced his daughter dead at the scene.


In an interview Sunday, Elizabeth Evans said her husband was a “doting father” who “loved spending as much time as he could with his daughter.” His hobbies included mountain biking, motorcycles and playing pool, she said. She believes the attack was random and that her husband tried to save his daughter by shielding her with his body.

“McKenna never took a bad picture, no matter what face she was making,” Evans said. “She was just full of joy, and she cared for both people and animals.”

Jesse Mercado said McKenna Evans, his girlfriend, was both ambitious and kind.

He recalled rushing to the shopping center “to see if she was safe. She wasn’t answering my calls. But when I got there, everything was covered with police tape. I was more and more panicked. It’s shattering to know the person I love so much is not here.”

The two had been dating since February, after meeting at an ice cream shop in Palmdale where they both worked.

“McKenna was the type of person who worried so much about everything, but that goes to show that she cared about everything,” Mercado said. “She always spoke the truth.”

McKenna Evans had been waiting to take her aesthetician exam and get her license. A skincare and makeup buff since her teens, she gravitated toward vegan products and those that were not tested on animals, “because she paid attention to kindness and comfort,” her mother said.

The pair bonded over K-pop, and the daughter would introduce her mother to new tunes.

Evans said her husband, born and raised in North Carolina, had been planning to move to Missouri and had hoped for more quality time with his youngest child before leaving.

Ken Evans, 54, described as a "risk-taker" by his wife,
Ken Evans, 54, described as a “risk-taker” by his wife, had tried to shield his daughter with his body during an attack.
(Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Evans.)

“That was Ken — a risk-taker, always adventurous,” she said.

The couple met in Kansas before returning to her native California, raising a family while Ken Evans worked in construction, later taking on real estate and handyman jobs.

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help the family with funeral expenses.