Man arrested in machete attacks at Irwindale homeless encampment

Local news
Fidel Esparza and machete knives recovered by detectives are seen in undated photos released by the Irwindale Police Department.

Fidel Esparza and machete knives recovered by detectives are seen in undated photos released by the Irwindale Police Department.

A 52-year-old man was arrested Monday on suspicion of attacking two people with machetes at an Irwindale homeless encampment, police said.

Fidel Esparza is believed to be the person who attacked people on Sept. 4 and Sept. 29 on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land in the 1200 block of Arrow Highway, the Irwindale Police Department said.

During the first attack, the man approached a woman in the camp and slashed her on the arm with a large machete knife, police said.

Weeks later, the same suspect attacked a man during an altercation at a homeless camp in the same area.

“The suspect was armed with a large machete knife and the victim was slashed on the hand and fingers,” police said in a news release.

After both attacks, the suspect fled before officers arrived.

Both victims knew the attacker and identified Esparza by name to officers, according to the news release. He was described as being a local transient who frequented the area.

Detectives spotted Esparza during a surveillance operation in the 1400 block of Arrow Highway.

After a short chase, he was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest. He was being held on $50,000 bail, police said.

Authorities said detectives also found a number of machete knives.

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