Covina Double Stabbing Under Investigation As Hate Crime; Suspect Arrested

COVINA (CNS/FOX 11) - A suspected teenaged Latino gang member reportedly stabbed two black men in the parking lot of a Covina shopping center, and police Sunday said this was a hate crime based on race.

Louis Vasquez, 19, of La Puente, reportedly slashed a 27-year-old man who was walking through a parking lot Saturday evening, at a shopping center in the 100 block of North Azusa Avenue.

Vasquez then reportedly stabbed an 18-year-old store employee as he retrieved shopping carts, said Covina police Sgt. Gregg Peterson.

The 27-year-old was cut on his right shoulder and left knee. The 18-year-old clerk was stabbed in the back, on his right shoulder, Peterson said. Both victims were black and did not know each other.

Witnesses provided a description of the suspect, armed with a knife, who was last seen running northbound from the location at 7:41 p.m. Saturday, he said.

Police set up a containment area. Residents from the 800 block of West Edna Place reported a man running through backyards, the sergeant said, and Vasquez was arrested in one home's backyard.

He was later booked for suspicion of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon with a gang enhancement and hate crime. Bail was set at $500,000, Peterson said.

Covina police detectives asked anyone with any information regarding the stabbing attacks to call them at (626) 384-5665.

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