A search was continuing Thursday for a man who fatally stabbed a fellow diner at a downtown Los Angeles Mexican restaurant on New Year’s Day.
Surveillance video released Thursday shows the man calmly walking away from Margarita’s Place, 103 E. Seventh St., after the stabbing that occurred around 8:35 a.m. Wednesday.
Police said the suspect is believed to be a homeless man, possibly in his 40s.
Restaurant owner Bernardo Vergara told reporters the suspect has been in the eatery before but had never caused any trouble. He told KCAL9 the suspect got into a verbal argument with the victim, and Vergara tried to break it up to no avail.
The argument ended with the suspect pulling out a knife and stabbing the victim, who died at a hospital.
Vergara told Channel 9 he has owned the restaurant for 40 years, and there has been a noticeable uptick in homelessness in the area in recent months.
Police said both men were sitting at the restaurant counter when the argument erupted for unknown reasons. The men are not believed to have known each other, authorities said.
Relatives identified the victim as Homer Garcia, 56, and described him as an avid musician.
“He just had a way of bringing us all together with this music,” his sister, Maribel, told KTLA5. “He was patient. So many of his friends wanted to learn to play guitar. He was quick, like, `Yeah, just come on down. Come on down, now.’ He wrote his own music.”
She said her brother “was funny, always had jokes. He was just a good soul.”