Suspect in Las Vegas stabbings solicited work 2 days before
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The suspect in a stabbing rampage on the Las Vegas Strip that left two people dead and six injured was in Los Angeles soliciting employment from strangers two days before the attack, according to a California TV station.
In a video taken Tuesday by photographer Jorge Lopez for NBCLA sister station Telemundo 52, a man who identified himself as Yoni Barrios approached Lopez outside Los Angeles City Hall and asked for help, saying he had lost his home and everything he had.
“He kept telling me, ‘I just want an opportunity, I just want to start from scratch,‘” said Lopez, who was in downtown Los Angeles on assignment at the time.
The TV station said Lopez didn’t realize the significance of the video until Barrios’ arrest Thursday in Las Vegas.
The rampage began when Barrios allegedly attacked a group of four showgirl performers outside a casino with a 12-inch knife, police said.
Barrios had approached the women for a photo on a pedestrian bridge, but one showgirl told police she was uncomfortable with his proposal and backed away.
Witnesses said Barrios charged at the woman and stabbed her in the back as she ran from him. The suspect then allegedly stabbed another woman before running down the Strip and looking for groups of people so he could “let the anger out,” police said.
Barrios thought the showgirls were laughing at him and making fun of his clothing, according to the arrest report.
Police said the suspect was wearing a chef’s long-sleeved white jacket that was covered in blood when he was arrested.
Officers have recovered the knife Barrios is believed to have thrown into some bushes as he fled.
The county coroner’s office has identified the two killed as Las Vegas residents Brent Allan Hallett, 47, and Maris Mareen DiGiovanni, 30.
DiGiovanni was part of the Best Showgirls In Vegas modeling and talent agency, according to Cheryl Lowthorp, who runs the business that provides models and showgirls for various promotional events from restaurant openings to airport greetings.
Lowthorp said two others with the agency were among the wounded and a third escaped without injury.
Prior to the rampage, Barrios reportedly went to the Wynn casino and asked a janitor about jobs and was also seeking work as a chef.
Barrios also told a casino security guard he was trying to sell his knives that he kept in a suitcase to raise enough money to go back home, although police said his citizenship isn’t clear.
Barrios, 32, is being held without bail and scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday.
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said Barrios will be charged with two counts of murder and six counts of attempted murder.
Wolfson said prosecutors should decide in the next 30 to 60 days whether to seek the death penalty in the case.
It remained unclear Sunday if Barrios has a lawyer yet who can speak on his behalf.
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