A 19-year-old La Puente man was charged Tuesday with attempted murder for allegedly stabbing two men in a Covina parking lot.

Louis Vasquez pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of attempted murder stemming from the  Saturday night stabbings in the parking lot of a shopping center in the 100 block of North Azusa Avenue.

The charges include sentence-enhancing allegations that Vasquez personally used a knife and inflicted great bodily injury on the victims.

Police said a 27-year-old man who was walking through the parking lot was cut on his right shoulder and left knee, while an 18-year-old clerk who was retrieving shopping carts was stabbed in the back of his right shoulder.

Police said both of the victims were black, and suggested the crime may have been racially motivated.

“The evidence that was presented to our office did not substantiate a hate crime allegation,” said Sarah Ardalani of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Witnesses provided a description of the suspect, who was seen running northbound from the crime scene at 7:41 p.m. Saturday, and police set up a containment area. Residents in the 800 block of West Edna Place reported seeing a man running through backyards, and Vasquez was arrested in the neighborhood.

At a court hearing in West Covina this afternoon, Vasquez was ordered to remain jailed in lieu of $2 million bail. He is due back in court Feb. 17, when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence to require him to stand trial.

City News Service

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