The South Gate community is on alert as police search for a man who has been slashing people in the face as he rides past them on a bicycle. In the last two weeks, he has slashed six people, authorities said.
The brazen daytime assaults in South Los Angeles and southeast L.A. County have locals on edge.
“Yeah, it’s crazy. It’s just like, wow. I didn’t think that was gonna happen here,” South Gate resident Rebecca Garcia said.
“It’s really scary. It feels like really unsafe,” South Gate resident Kimberly Viramontes said. “I don’t know. I just don’t feel safe anymore. I just think it’s even worse.”
The latest attack happened in South Gate around 8:40 a.m. Monday near Florence Avenue and Avalon Boulevard. Police said the man was riding a mountain bike and approached another man, slashing his face with a sharp object. Fifteen minutes later, the suspect slashed a woman’s face near 59th Place and Avalon.
On March 20, the suspect rode up to a man around 7:30 a.m., slashing him as he stood at the corner of 59th Street and Avalon Boulevard.
A week later, investigators said the same man slashed someone’s face near California Avenue and Imperial Highway in Lynwood. A woman was attacked less than a mile away, and within an hour, South Gate police were called for a similar incident.
News of the violent random attacks have spread on social media, making many in the area concerned for their safety. Jocelyn Garcia said she is making her little sister wait for her after school inside the building.
“I’m all thinking, ‘What if he gets her?'” Jocelyn said. “I heard he got someone by Hunt, by the Walmart, and it’s close to the house – five minutes away.”
Other concerned residents are reminding family and friends to never let their guard down.
“Some people say, ‘Watch out. Don’t walk by yourself. Going home, be with group of friends or something,'” Rebecca said.
The suspect has been described by the Los Angeles Police Department as a Hispanic man who stands about 5 feet, 6 inches to 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighs around 150 pounds. He was wearing a dark-colored T-shirt and dark pants at the time of the attacks.
He was last seen riding westbound along Slauson Avenue from Main Street on a black and green mountain bike, according to LAPD.
Anyone with information can contact Detective Corral or Detective Garcia at 323-318-3610 or 323-846-6562. Calls should be directed to 877-527-3247 during non-business hours or on weekends.
Anonymous tips can be submitted to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477, lacrimestoppers.org or by downloading the “P3 Tips” mobile app and selecting the L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers as the local program.