Man Charged With Murder in Fatal Stabbing of Security Guard During Alleged Beer Theft in Sylmar

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A 24-year-old man has been charged with murder in the slaying of a strip mall security guard in Sylmar, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office said Wednesday.

Santiago Madrigal was allegedly trying to steal two cans of beer when he got into an altercation with a security guard at the Food 4 Less in the 12600 block of Glenoaks Boulevard that ended with the guard’s fatal stabbing, local police said at the time.

Madrigal now faces one count of murder and is in police custody with his bail set at $1 million, the DA’s office said.

He has pled not guilty, the DA said.

Joe Lopez, 28, was working as a security guard outside a Food 4 Less grocery store on Sunday when Madrigal allegedly stole two cans of beer, LAPD officer Taylor McLaws said at the time.

Joe Lopez, 28, is seen in a photo his uncle provided to KTLA.

Joe Lopez, 28, is seen in a photo his uncle provided to KTLA.

That’s when Lopez tried to stop the theft, officials said.

“The security guard was trying to approach the defendant and he [Lopez] was on a bicycle,” DA Spokesperson Ricardo Santiago said.

When the two men came in contact, they wrestled with one another on a sidewalk outside the store before Madrigal plunged a blade into Lopez’s neck, according to an eyewitness account.

“He just cut his neck … so he killed him,” Elena Lira, a witness, said at the time.

Although Madrigal was described as a “transient” at the time of his arrest, Santiago said he has an address and may not be.

“I’m just shocked that somebody out there is so stupid … [and] would kill a human being over a can of beer,” Moises Tagle, a cousin of Lopez, said at the time.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help pay Lopez’s funeral expenses.

If convicted, Madrigal faces a possible maximum sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole, the DA’s office said.

KTLA’s John Fenoglio contributed to this article.