A 25-year-old Korean Air flight attendant is fighting for her life after being stabbed in the chest in a random and unprovoked attack inside a downtown Los Angeles Target store on Tuesday evening, which also left a nine-year-old unrelated boy seriously injured with a stab wound to his back.
The suspect, a homeless man who seemingly picked his victims at random, was shot dead by a Target security guard inside the store.
Chief Michel Moore of the Los Angeles Police Department said the man entered the store at around 6:20 pm on Tuesday and grabbed a large butcher’s knife off the shelf. He then confronted the boy and threatened to stab him.
The police chief said the suspect: “told the young boy he was going to stab him and kill him.”
“He repeated that more than once. The young child attempted to flee and leave, ignore him, moving away. The suspect, without any further provocation, suddenly attacked and stabbed this child in the back.”
The suspect then moved to another part of the store where he came across a group of women. Chief Moore says the suspect “brutally” stabbed a 25-year Korean female, plunging the knife into her chest. She has since been identified as a Korean Air flight attendant who was on a layover in Los Angeles.
Bystanders dragged the victim to the pharmacy section of the store where they locked themselves behind a door and started to administer emergency First Aid.
The suspect moved towards the front of the store where an armed security guard confronted the man. He initially attempted to deescalate the situation and repeatedly called on the suspect to drop the knife.
The security initially considered using his baton to subdue the suspect but switched to his gun when the suspect moved towards him. The security guard fatally shot the suspect.
A third victim who had been punched by the suspect but not seriously injured was later identified.
Korean media reports indicate that the flight attendant is in a “critical condition”. A spokesperson for the airline said it was “providing as much support as possible for the victim.”
The airline is said to be carrying out a review of safety protocols in Los Angeles and could move aircrew to a more secure location.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.