A 40-year-old man has been shot and killed by a security guard at a Target in downtown Los Angeles after stabbing two people, including a nine-year-old boy, police have said.
Police say that the “unprovoked” and “heinous act” started around 6.40pm on Tuesday when the suspect approached the boy in the shop and told him several times that “he was going to stab him and kill him,” Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michael Moore said, according to CNN.
While the child tried to get away from the suspect, the man “suddenly attacked and stabbed this young child in the back” despite there being no “further provocation,” Chief Moore said.
The police chief said the man had been armed with a kitchen knife between nine and 10 inches in length, CNN reported.
After stabbing the child, he then went into one of the aisles, stabbing a 25-year-old woman in the chest, according to police.
After moving to the front of the store, the suspect was confronted by a security guard who shot the suspect after he moved in his direction still carrying the knife, according to police.
The gunfire struck the suspect in the stomach and he was declared dead at a hospital in the area. His identity hasn’t been made public.
Chief Moore said that the boy had a deep cut to his left shoulder and was in a stable but critical condition as of Tuesday night, while the woman was in surgery to treat her knife wound.
At first, police said that three people had been stabbed, but Chief Moore later said that while two people had been stabbed, a third individual had been trampled as they left the shop, with their face being bruised.
“The fact that you have an unprovoked attack on a child strikes all of us,” the police chief said, according to CNN. “This isn’t something that’s acceptable in Los Angeles and by no means is anywhere near the norm.”
Police officers were present in the area responding to a separate situation at the time of the stabbings and arrived at the store quickly, the chief said, adding that the officers were able to provide aid to both the victims and the suspect.
The authorities are reviewing surveillance footage from the shop, Chief Moore added.