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Suspect Charged With Murder in Stabbing of Teen Outside El Sereno Restaurant

A man arrested in two stabbings in El Sereno, including an attack that killed a 17-year-old boy waiting for family outside a restaurant, was charged Friday with murder and attempted murder.

David Anthony Zapata, 32, faces up to 40 years to life in prison if convicted in what appear to be random attacks. It was not immediately clear whether he has an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

Law enforcement officers responded to an Alhambra neighborhood Wednesday morning where they found the suspect, who had been sought since the stabbing Friday of 17-year-old Xavier Chavarin, a student at Woodrow Wilson High School. New surveillance video showed the attacker with wavy hair, a beard and a hat walk up to the teen victim, who was waiting for family outside King Torta restaurant, when he wasn’t looking and stab him in the back.

The second stabbing victim, who was attacked hours later in the community northeast of downtown Los Angeles, is a father of three. He has since been released from the hospital.

“These were senseless attacks,” said LAPD Lt. Ryan Rabbett. “No confrontation, no words exchanged. Really just spontaneous and brutal.”

The families of both victims told NBC4 they believe they were random attacks. Police have said there is no known relationship between the victims and attacker.

No motives have been identified. Police said there is no evidence to suggest the crimes were committed during a robbery attempt.

Chavarin was a senior in high school and a straight-A student.

He was waiting for his mom to pick him after school when the attacker got out of a older model Honda CRV and killed him using a large knife. The attacker then fled in the SUV, police said.

“It breaks my heart, the fact that they just took him away from me,” said Laura Frias, the mother. “Perfect child, perfect child.”

Police said they believe the same man stabbed another person outside Valley Food Liquor Friday, just five hours later and 1.6 miles away.

In the second attack, police said the man was not in a hat and on a skateboard when he stabbed a 33-year-old father in the back. Police said the man didn’t say anything and, when the victim wasn’t looking, he attacked him again using a large knife.

The second victim was able to escape.

Officers were in the 2300 block of Westmont Drive Wednesday morning where a man was barricaded inside a residence. The man appeared to be holding a knife when he was seen in a window of the home, police said.

At least two armored SWAT vehicles and a crisis negotiation team responded to the San Gabriel Valley neighborhood. The man was taken into custody just after 9 a.m. after surrendering to police.

“The crisis negotiators were able to convince him to step out, assured him of his safety and after a while he voluntarily came out and surrendered himself to the officers,” said LAPD Commander German Hurtado.

Authorities said they are looking into whether someone else was driving the SUV seen and the crime scene.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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