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Suspect in custody in fatal stabbing of toddler

Crime scene

Police close off a portion of Arlington Avenue outside a home where a 2-year-old was stabbed to death and her mother injured Monday.

(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

A man was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of fatally stabbing a 2-year-old girl and critically injuring his girlfriend, who was five months pregnant, in their home in South Los Angeles, police said.

Lataz Gray, 22, was receiving medical treatment at a hospital for a cut to his hand Tuesday morning when he contacted his father and told him about the stabbing, said Det. David Garrido of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Criminal Gang Homicide Division.

The father persuaded his son to turn himself in to police, then he contacted investigators and notified them about his son.

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“We really do appreciate a father’s ability to recognize his duty in this case,” Capt. Peter Whittingham said at a news conference.

After Gray is medically cleared, he will be jailed on suspicion of murder, police said.

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Police said the “vicious” stabbing occurred shortly before 10 p.m. Monday at the couple’s home in the 3500 block of Arlington Avenue.

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Gray and his 22-year-old girlfriend, Ebony Epps, had been dating for about six months and moved into the home about a month ago, police said. Gray was not the girl’s father, police said.

Crime scene

Police said the “vicious” stabbing occurred shortly before 10 p.m. Monday at the couple’s home in the 3500 block of Arlington Avenue.

(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Officers responded to a report of a battery that required an ambulance at the home.

They found Epps and the toddler inside with multiple stab wounds.

Both were taken to the hospital, where the girl was pronounced dead, police said. Epps remained in critical condition Tuesday, Whittingham said. Her unborn child will survive and was not injured in the attack, he said.

Police said Epps was heavily sedated, so they could not interview her to find out what happened moments before the stabbing.

“We are hoping she’s going to recover,” Garrido said.

For breaking news in California, follow VeronicaRochaLA on Twitter. 

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