DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) — A homeless man grabbed a large butcher’s knife from a shelf in a downtown Los Angeles Target store and stabbed two people – including a young boy – before being shot by a security guard, police say .
The terrifying attack took place around 6:20 p.m. Tuesday at a popular shopping complex near Figueroa and 7th Street.
Police say a homeless man walked into the Target store and grabbed a butcher knife with a 9-inch blade from a shelf.
He approached a 9-year-old boy in the store and told him he was going to kill him, according to LAPD Chief Michel Moore.
“(He) confronted him and told the young boy he was going to stab him and kill him,” Moore said. “He repeated this more than once. The young child tried to run away and leave, ignore him, walk away. The suspect without further provocation suddenly attacked and stabbed this child in the back.”
The child suffered a deep wound in the back of his shoulder and fell to the ground.
The suspect then moved into the store and came across a group of women. He stabbed a woman, aged around 25, “brutally” in the chest, Moore said. Good Samaritans came to her rescue, took her to the store’s pharmacy and closed the door.
The suspect then proceeded to the front of the store, where he was confronted by an armed Target security guard.
The guard initially tried to defuse the situation and went to use his baton, but switched to his weapon as the suspect advanced towards him with the knife, Moore said.
The security guard shot the man at least once in the chest and he fell to the ground.
Some LAPD officers were in the shopping complex area on another call and quickly rushed to the scene, taking the suspect into custody.
Meanwhile, “chaos” erupted inside the store as frightened customers fled. A woman was trampled in the stampede and bruised in the face.
Initial reports first described her as a third stabbing victim, then said she may have been punched by the suspect. But Moore said further investigation indicated she was injured in the chaotic aftermath.
The suspect was transported to a local hospital. At a subsequent press conference, Moore said the suspect was deceased.
LAPD added that the suspect had no connection to the victims.
Customers described a chilling and bloody scene shortly before LAPD officers stormed the store and customers were told to evacuate.
“Out of nowhere we heard people screaming,” said Kevin Zaragoza, who was shopping at the store with his brother. “We rushed forward. Right next to the exit we see a girl on the ground, blood all over her.”
“After that we see the whole LAPD swarming in there with shotguns, all kinds of stuff. It was crazy.”
Moore said the boy underwent surgery and was in stable condition, but may have suffered potential neurological damage.
The woman who was stabbed was undergoing surgery for what was described as a deep stab wound to her chest.
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