An alleged Latino gang member was in custody Monday in lieu of $500,000 bail on suspicion of stabbing two black men in the parking lot of a Covina shopping center in what police say was a hate crime motivated by racial animus.
Louis Vasquez, 19, of La Puente, allegedly slashed a 27-year-old man who was walking through a parking lot at a shopping center in the 100 block of North Azusa Avenue Saturday night. Vasquez then stabbed an 18-year-old store employee as he retrieved shopping carts, said Covina police Sgt. Gregg Peterson.
The 27-year-old was cut on his right shoulder and left knee. The 18-year- old clerk was stabbed in the back of his right shoulder, Peterson said. Both victims are black and did not know each other.
Witnesses provided a description of the suspect, who was armed with a knife and last seen running northbound from the location at 7:41 p.m. Saturday, he said.
Police set up a containment area. Residents from the 800 block of West Edna Place reported a man running through backyards, the sergeant said, and Vasquez was arrested in the backyard of a home.
He was later booked on suspicion of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon with a gang enhancement and hate crime and was due in court Tuesday. Bail was set at $500,000, Peterson said.
Covina police detectives asked anyone with any information regarding the stabbing attacks to call them at (626) 384-5665.
—City News Service