Police are searching for a 41-year-old man in connection with a violent stabbing in Claremont who is a repeat offender and should be considered armed and dangerous.
Officers with the Claremont Police Department responded to 200 West First Street, a Metrolink Station, at around 4 p.m. Sunday on reports of the stabbing, according to a CPD news release.
The suspect, now identified as Phillip Borunda, had already fled the scene when police arrived.
Authorities located the victim in the grassy area near the Claremont Museum of Art and learned that he had been stabbed in the ribcage after an alleged argument with the Borunda. Paramedics with the Los Angeles County Fire Department took the victim, who was suffering from possibly life-threatening injuries to Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center.
“All l saw was cop cars, the ambulance,” Amal Najir, who works at the nearby Jax Bicycle Center said.
Claremont resident Melissa Larose, who owns the Method Lagree, a fitness studio, told KTLA’s Shelby Nelson that she has seen the 41-year-old suspect before.
“It’s a block from where my studio is and we have young girls who are opening the studio and closing it after and before hours, so it’s really scary, feels unsafe,” she said.
Larose’s friend, Tina Rodriguez, she’s not surprised by the incident.
“If this would have happened a few years ago, it would have been completely shocking,” she said. “But I think that we’ve just both seen the city go in a direction that we’re not happy with.”
According to police, Borunda is known to frequent Claremont and Pomona and that he has a lengthy criminal history. Since 2019, police say he’s been arrested some 14 times for crimes including burglary, arson, possession of stolen property and drug offenses. The 41-year-old is also out of custody while waiting to be arraigned for an arson case this past summer.
The Claremont Police Officer’s Association has criticized Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, saying in part:
“Unfortunately, District Attorney George Gascón’s policies have often resulted in [Borunda’s] release without facing charges or consequences, posing a significant threat to our community.”
For its part, the DA’s office disputes that narrative, saying that in this case their bail policy has no impact on Borunda’s release because he was cited and released by law enforcement before the L.A. County court system’s zero bail policy went into effect.
“The defendant was arrested by the Claremont Police Department (CPD) on July 13th for a misdemeanor arson offense,” the DA’s office said in a statement to KTLA. “CPD released him and gave him a citation to appear on 9/12 for arraignment. The defendant failed to appear, and the court issued a $15,000 warrant. The [L.A. DA’s] bail policy had no impact on his release.”
While police told KTLA that the stabbing appears to be an isolated incident and that the victim is still hospitalized in stable condition, some residents said they want to see change.
“We need to get back to a law-and-order society,” Claremont resident Dan Hartman said.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Claremont Police Department at 909-399-5411.