A homeless man has been shot and killed by a security guard after he reportedly walked into a Target store and allegedly stabbed two people, including a 7-year-old boy, with a large butcher knife he grabbed off of a shelf, police said.
The incident occurred at approximately 6:20 p.m. on Tuesday evening at a Target near Figueroa and 7th Streets in Los Angeles, California, when police say the man entered the store and grabbed a butcher knife with a 9-inch blade off of a shelf before confronting the 7-year-old boy, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore told the media following the incident.
"(He) confronted him and told the young boy he was going to stab him and kill him," Moore said. "He repeated that more than once. 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."
Following the initial stabbing, the suspect subsequently encountered a a group of women and stabbed a 25-year-old woman "brutally" in the chest, according to Moore.
The boy suffered a deep wound to his back and shoulder area and fell to the floor after being stabbed, officials said. The 25-year-old woman was tended to by good Samaritans who reportedly came to her rescue by pulling her into the store’s pharmacy area and closing the gate behind them, according to ABC’s Los Angeles station KABC.
The suspect then moved to the front of the store but was confronted by an armed Target security guard who reportedly tried to defuse the situation with his baton before switching to his gun when the suspected allegedly continued to approach him with the 9-inch blade, according to KABC.
The security guard shot the man at least once in the torso before Los Angeles Police Department officers who happened to be in the nearby shopping complex next to Target responded to the scene and took the stabbing suspect into custody, according to KABC.
The incident reportedly caused mass panic in the store as customers fled the scene of the crime and one woman was trampled in the stampede and bruised in her face, authorities said.
"Out of nowhere, we heard people screaming," Kevin Zaragoza, who was shopping at Target with his brother at the time of the stabbings, told KABC following the incident. "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 7-year-old boy who was stabbed underwent surgery after the attack and is currently listed in stable condition, though he may have suffered potential neurological damage in the stabbing, officials said. The 25-year-old woman was also taken to hospital and underwent surgery for the deep stab wound to her chest. Authorities have not yet given an update on her condition but did confirm that the suspect had no relation to either of the victims involved in the stabbing.
The suspect who was shot by the security guard during the altercation was also taken to the hospital but died from the gunshot wound he sustained following the stabbings, police said.
The investigation into the incident is ongoing.