Following an hours-long standoff in Alhambra, a man with an apparent history of mental health problems was arrested Wednesday in connection with a pair of stabbings, including the killing of a 17-year-old honor student who was slain while waiting for his mother outside an El Sereno restaurant.
The suspect, later identified as 32-year-old David Anthony Zapata, surrendered to police around 9:15 a.m. Police had gone early Wednesday morning to the home where he lives with family in the 2300 block of Westmont Drive, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
A lengthy standoff ensued, during which police negotiators were able to speak to the suspect on the phone. LAPD Cmdr. German Hurtado told reporters that negotiators were eventually able to convince the suspect to come out of the house, assuring him that he would not be harmed.
It was unclear if any of the man’s relatives helped convince him to surrender.
The suspect, wearing dark clothing and a baseball cap, exited the house and walked slowly toward the heavily armed officers, who spoke to him briefly then handcuffed him and took him into custody.
He was being held in lieu of $2 million bail, according to jail records.
Zapata was wanted in the stabbing death of 17-year-old Xavier Chavarin, who was attacked about 3:55 p.m. Friday in the 4500 block of Valley Boulevard in El Sereno, according to the LAPD. About five hours later, he allegedly approached a 33-year-old man in the 5400 block of Valley Boulevard and stabbed him several times without warning. That man survived.
Hurtado said the suspect “has mental health prior incidents,” although he declined to elaborate. After the arrest, Hurtado said Alhambra police indicated that “he has been a problem in this neighborhood.”
Xavier Chavarin was a straight-A student who attended Woodrow Wilson High School and was supposed to graduate in June, according to his family.
The teen was waiting outside a King Torta restaurant moments before the suspect unexpectedly stabbed him in the back. His family said Chavarin later collapsed and died inside the restaurant while trying to get help.
A woman believed to be Xavier’s mother showed up Wednesday morning at the scene of the standoff as the suspect was being arrested, but she was overcome with emotion, weeping into her hands as she was surrounded by reporters and cameras. The boy’s grandfather and stepfather were also on hand, according to reports from the scene.
On Tuesday, the LAPD had released a description of the suspect, along with surveillance video showing the suspect seconds before he attacked the teen in El Sereno.
Anyone with additional information was urged to call Central Bureau Homicide Detectives J. Calzadillas or S. Ruiz at 213-996-4116. Those who want to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.