A security guard shot a man dead after a nine-year-old boy and a woman were stabbed in a “heinous” act, police say. The child and woman, 25, remain in a critical incident after the shocking incident in a department store in downtown Los Angeles.
The suspect, a 40-year-old man, was shot and killed by a security guard who intervened, Chief Michael Moore of the Los Angeles Police Department said.
Describing the disturbing events, Chief Moore said the suspect repeatedly warned the boy he planned to “stab and kill him” inside a Target store.
The boy tried to move away but the suspect, armed with a nine-inch kitchen knife, stabbed him in the back, a news conference heard on Tuesday night.
Chief Moore said “the suspect, without any further provocation, suddenly attacked and stabbed this young child”.
The suspect then allegedly moved into an aisle and stabbed the 25-year-old woman in the chest.
A third person was also punched by the attacker during the incident, reported at 6.40pm, but their condition is unknown.
LAPD does not believe the two stabbing victims are related to one another.
The attack was believed to be unprovoked, LAPD said.
Chief Moore told the news conference the boy was at the store with his mother, but she was not present at the time of the attack.
The 25-year-old woman was then pulled into a pharmacy as the attacker moved toward the front of the store where he was confronted by an armed security officer, Chief Moore said.
The security officer opened fire at least once, hitting the knife-wielding man in the stomach.
He was declared dead at a nearby hospital.
The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating the scene and asked anyone with information to call the Central Area station.
“There is no active threat to the general public at this time,” the LAPD’s Central Area tweeted at 7.35pm local time (3.35am GMT).
Chief Moore said: “The fact that you have an unprovoked attack on a child strikes all of us.
“This isn’t something that’s acceptable in Los Angeles and by no means is anywhere near the norm.”