A woman working as a gas station clerk was fatally stabbed by a man in Maywood early Wednesday in what authorities are calling a “vicious” attack.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies responded to a call about a man fighting with employees at the Arco station along the 4700 block of Slauson Avenue about 5:30 a.m., officials said.
When they arrived, deputies found the man still fighting with two men inside the ampm store. They detained him and took him outside before finding the victim behind the counter with multiple stab wounds to the torso, Lt. Barry Hall told KTLA.
The victim was taken to a hospital where she eventually died from her injuries.
She has not been identified by authorities. But family members and friends who gathered at the scene Wednesday afternoon said she was 26-year-old Diana Baez, who went by “Nelly.” Hall told KTLA the victim was 32.
A preliminary investigation found that the suspect, identified as 33-year-old Kevin C. Gomez, was inside the store when he suddenly attacked the victim, according to a news release from the Sheriff’s Department. During the attack, a second female employee tried to help the victim, not realizing that she had been not only punched but stabbed.
The suspect then redirected his stabbing motions toward the second employee, attempting to stab her too, the department said. The suspect didn’t realize the blade had broken from its handle and continued repeated stabbing motions at the second woman. Two male customers were able to grab the suspect and pull him away, officials said.
The two customers fought the suspect until deputies arrived and were unaware the victim had been stabbed.
Gomez, a transient, was arrested on suspicion of murder and attempted murder, the department said. His bail is set at $2 million dollars.
The second female victim sustained abrasions and was treated at the scene.
Officials said it appears there was no motive for the attack.
A broken kitchen knife was recovered at the scene.
Hall said it was unclear what led to the deadly stabbing, but that it was caught on video.
“I don’t know what set him off. It was a vicious crime,” the lieutenant said. “There’s no rhyme or reason for it. He was just standing there drinking a drink and, then he attacks her for no reason.”
Baez’s cousin, Britney Elizalde, said she had just seen her the day before. Elizalde said she woke up to the news of the incident Wednesday morning.
Family members told KTLA that Baez had a boyfriend and worked two jobs to support herself.