Man Stabbed to Death Downtown

August 10, 2007

Los Angeles: Los Angeles police detectives are asking the public’s help in solving the stabbing death of a Black man in his thirties. The heavily tattooed man died at the Los Angeles County USC Medical Center around 2 AM.

"No one initially reported the crime to police," said Lieutenant Paul Vernon, who supervises detective operations for the Central Police Station. "We’re questioning a man who claims to be a good Samaritan. We’re not sure of his involvement, nor his motives for helping the victim."

According to the witness, he came upon the stabbed man on Seaton Avenue, just south of 5th Street, in the warehouse district of downtown around 1 AM. The witness stopped at the Valero gas station nearby and decided to rush the bleeding man to a hospital. He noticed a fire ambulance returning to its firehouse on North Spring and flagged down the paramedics for assistance.

Paramedics heroically sustained the man’s life for the ride to the hospital, but the chest wound proved fatal. The paramedics reported the incident to police.

The victim bled profusely in the good Samaritan’s van, which detectives impounded. They also found signs of two stabbed victims on Seaton Avenue. Another man had been taken to the hospital around 4 PM from a stabbing inflicted in almost the exact spot. That man is expected to live.

"It’s odd that two stabbings would occur in nearly the same place and not be related," Vernon said. "We expect that someone will come forward soon. You’d be surprised how often locals step up with information."

Despite last night’s stabbing death, major crime in Central Area remains down 30 percent from last year. No one has been killed within Skid Row for the entire period of the Safer Cities Initiative, which began nearly one year ago. This September, with the Mayor and Chief Bratton will assign of fifty extra officers.

Moreover, this is only the third homicide this year in Central Area. This time last year, downtown had experienced 9 murders. The last two murders in downtown happened in January and March, both stabbings. Detectives solved both those cases. With the 78% drop in murders, the detectives spent their time, until last night, on cold cases, clearing three more murders from prior years. "It’s the rare and select homicide unit that can claim a 150-percent clearance rate," Vernon added.

"Much of the credit for crime reduction goes to the local residents," Vernon added. "We probably solve more crimes, including murders, from local tipsters than any other police area. That’s a credit to the locals for their willingness to do the right thing, but it’s also a sign our officers are building trust with the residents in downtown. We’re very proud of that!"

Lieutenant Vernon can be reached at 213-972-1203.