A 25-year-old Asian woman and a 9-year-old boy were left fighting for their lives after falling victim to a stabbing at Target in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday night.
The suspect, believed to be a 40-year-old homeless man, was shot dead by a security guard, according to reports.
The incident at the store on 7th and Figueroa Streets occurred at around 6:20 p.m. The suspect grabbed a “butcher-style knife” from a shelf and stabbed the victims with it, according to police.
The suspect allegedly attacked the 9-year-old boy first. The child, who went to the store with his mother, was separated before the suspect went after him, CBS News reported.
The man allegedly threatened to kill the boy. He eventually plunged the knife into the boy’s back, causing a “deep laceration in his left shoulder,” police said.
“[He] confronted him and told the young boy he was going to stab him and kill him. He repeated that more than once,” Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said at a news conference. “The young child attempted to flee and leave, ignore him, move away. The suspect without any further provocation suddenly attacked and stabbed this child in the back.”
The child reportedly fell to the floor. Afterward, the suspect moved on and came across a group of women, “brutally” stabbing one of them — a 25-year-old Asian woman — in the chest.
Good Samaritans reportedly helped both victims. After the stabbings, the suspect headed to the front of the store and was confronted by a security guard who eventually shot him in the stomach.
Meanwhile, chaos ensued as customers panicked and scrambled to get out of the store.
“Out of nowhere, we heard people screaming,” Kevin Zaragoza, who was shopping with his brother, told ABC7. “We rushed to the front. Right there by the exit we see a girl on the floor, blood all over her. After that, we see the whole LAPD swarming in there with shotguns, all types of stuff. It was crazy.”
The suspect and two victims were transported to the hospital. There, the suspect was declared dead.
The child, who has been stabilized, reportedly suffered potential neurological damage and is in critical condition as of Wednesday. Meanwhile, the woman has undergone surgery.
“The female victim that was stabbed in the chest is in worse condition. She has now entered into surgery and they’re working to stop the bleeding encountered by this deep stab wound to the front of her chest,” Moore told reporters.
The incident is now under investigation. Target, for its part, released a statement ensuring that safety remains its “top priority.”
“We can confirm that a third-party security guard intervened to stop the attack and the Los Angeles Police Department was quick to respond to the situation. Safety is our top priority and our hearts go out to the guests who were injured,” a spokesperson said.
“We’re grateful for the aid provided by the Los Angeles Police Department and others, and we’re focusing on supporting our team in the wake of the incident. We’d refer additional questions to law enforcement.”