A day after a 15-year-old boy was killed when a vehicle plowed into a group of teens near Westlake High School in Thousand Oaks, authorities in Simi Valley have released more information about a violent stabbing that took place in the city less than a hour earlier at the hands of the same suspect.
Just after 2:40 p.m. Tuesday, Simi Valley police responded to a Walmart located at 255 W. Cochran St. for a report of an incident involving a customer.
When they arrived on scene, the found an employee of the store had been pepper sprayed and stabbed by a man believed to be Austin Eis, a 24-year-old homeless man.
Witnesses told police that Eis entered the store, pepper sprayed the employee and then stabbed him several times with a large knife. He then turned his attention to a second employee, attacking her and then attempting to “drag her away.”
He was confronted by several other employees who tried to come to their coworker’s rescue, and Eis then allegedly lunged at them with the knife before fleeing the store and driving away.
The employees took down his license number and provided a description of the vehicle to police.
About 40 minutes later, Eis allegedly entered a family member’s home without their permission and brandished a firearm before fleeing in his vehicle again.
It’s after this second incident that investigators say Eis intentionally plowed into a group of kids at a bus stop outside Westlake High School, the same high school he himself attended and graduated from years earlier.
Among the children hit by Eis’s car was 15-year-old Wesley Welling. The ninth grader was seriously injured and died in the crash. Three of his other classmates were hospitalized with various injuries.
Eis was also transported to the hospital before being booked into the Ventura County Jail after being released. He’s due in court Thursday and is expected to be charged with murder, attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and attempted kidnapping, among other charges.
His alleged earlier victim, the employee who was stabbed at Walmart, remains hospitalized in serious, but stable condition. The female employee who Eis allegedly attempted to drag away was treated at the scene and released. Two other Walmart employees were uninjured.
At least seven people were injured during the spree of violent incidents across Ventura County. Several law enforcement agencies are working together to investigate the motive for the attacks and ensure that charges are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Detectives say some details of the crimes are being withheld to protect the integrity of the investigation, which spans across several jurisdictions. Still, anyone who may have witnessed the attack in Simi Valley is urged to call Detective Chris Lam at 805-583-6959.
Meanwhile, friends and family members of Wesley Welling gathered at a local church in Westlake Village to pray for peace and healing at a time when the Southern California community is reeling from senseless violence that has forever changed the lives of many.
Austin Eis remains in police custody with bail set at $5 million.