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Three young brothers allegedly stabbed to death by their father are identified

Family members mourn for the three young brothers.

Family members mourn for the three young brothers.

(Christina House / For The Times)

The Los Angeles County coroner has identified three brothers allegedly killed by their father and found in the back of an SUV in South L.A.

The boys were identified as Alexander, Juan and Luis Fuentes, ages 8, 9, and 10, respectively. Their father, identified by friends as Luis Fuentes, is suspected in the killing. Police said the children’s father was found in the front seat of the SUV, suffering from what appeared to be self-inflicted stab wounds.

It appeared the family had been sleeping in the car, detectives said.

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The grisly discovery shocked the neighborhood where the boys’ bodies were found.

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John Sorrentino said he got to work Wednesday morning and spotted a silver SUV parked outside his furniture warehouse on East 32nd Street.

He walked closer and saw a man in the driver’s seat with blood on his face. A child’s body slumped in the back seat, his eyes partially open.

“The young boy was just staring straight out, almost like he was staring into my eyes,” he said. Sorrentino then noticed two more victims: the child’s brothers. Sorrentino ran back to the warehouse and, in a panic, dialed 911.

Officers arrived about 7 a.m. and found the three children in the back seat. Their father was hospitalized with stab wounds.

Police said the man is the main suspect in the killings and would not say why the family was in the area or what led to the stabbings. A steak knife was recovered from the scene, police said.

The killings were the latest amid a rise in homicides in the city, prompting officials to send extra officers to the most violent areas. Last month, 39 people were killed, the most in a single month since 2009, data show. Most of the killings occurred in South Los Angeles.

Police Chief Charlie Beck held a somber news conference at the scene, across from an elementary school. The children attended other L.A. Unified Schools, he said.

The children’s stepmother was interviewed by police and was cooperative, officials said. There was no record of a custody dispute involving the children or a record of domestic violence.

“These are incidents that scar not only the community, but the first responders who have to handle them,” Beck said.

Times staff writers Joseph Serna, Kate Mather and Ruben Vives contributed to this report.

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