Los Angeles police are investigating a near-fatal stabbing that occurred in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, May 8. The unidentified Hispanic man, estimated to be in his thirties, is currently on life support in the intensive care unit of a local hospital.
At 3:30pm, more than a half-dozen Hispanic men in their twenties surrounded the victim on the east sidewalk of Los Angeles Street, at 5th Street.
“The attack started as a beat down until the victim fell to the sidewalk near a tree,” said Lt. Paul Vernon of the LAPD’s Central Division. “According to one witness, most of the attackers backed away, then a lone suspect began ruthlessly stabbing the victim.”
Doctors took the victim into surgery at the hospital, repairing damage to a dozen or more stab wounds. The victim had no identification, and has not been identified.
Witnesses described the assailants as Hispanic men in their twenties affiliated with the numerous street vendors who clog the sidewalk in that block.
“We know the 5th-and-Hill gang tries to control this area by taxing the street vendors for protection,” Vernon said. “The gang members are often vendors themselves. If someone does not pay their tax, they get beat up or worse. We’ve seen it before.”
Saturday’s stabbing is the third since the Fall of 2009. The prior events occurred on the north side of the same building. Detectives believed those two daylight stabbings, a couple weeks apart, were related. Detectives made arrests in the second of those two attacks. The suspects were 5th-and-Hill gang members who doubled as hotdog vendors to control the street.