Police launched a homicide investigation after a taxi driver was stabbed to death by a customer in the parking lot of a Burger King restaurant in downtown Los Angeles on Friday afternoon, authorities said.
The incident was first reported about 6 p.m. outside the restaurant at Cesar E. Chavez and Grand avenues, Los Angeles Police Department Officer Drake Madison said. Firefighters first responded, then summoned police to the scene.
The victim was initially described as a man in his 60s, the officer said.
Witnesses at the scene told KTLA the victim was a taxi driver, and the assailant attacked him and stabbed him repeatedly in the neck as soon as the taxi pulled into the parking lot.
Michael Bullard said he had just exited the restaurant when the attack occurred.
"The cab pulled up right in front of me. Two guys get out, and just boom, violence. I’ve never seen such violence in my life," he said.
After knocking the cab driver to the ground, one of them stabbed the victim in the neck "three or four times," Bullard said. The attacker then got back into the cab and looked as if he was trying to reverse the car and run the victim over before he ran away, he added.
"The man wrestled him down, I guess to attempt to rob him or something, and stabbed him right in his neck," witness April Adams said. "He was an old man. He didn’t deserve that."
Police said officers were seeking a Latino man in his 30s, about 5 feet 9 inches tall. He had bushy hair and a beard. He wore a black zip-up jacket and black pants and was last seen running south.
Detectives continues gathering clues and seeking witnesses Friday night.
"There is a camera within the cab," LAPD Lt. Ryan Rabbet told KTLA.
No further details were available.
KTLA's Alexandria Hernandez contributed to this report.