Los Angeles Times
Second person sought in teenager’s killing
Authorities are seeking a second suspect in the fatal stabbing of Xavier Chavarin, 17, in El Sereno last week, Los Angeles police said Thursday.
David Zapata, 32 — who was arrested Wednesday after a standoff with law enforcement at a home in Alhambra — drove from the crime scene in a Honda CR-V, police said. Another man was in the passenger seat, authorities said.
Police declined to give details on the possible accomplice at a Thursday news conference, saying they were “actively pursuing” the man.
“There appears to be another individual, a suspect that [Zapata] drove away with in the first incident. We are looking into that. That part of the investigation is still ongoing,” LAPD Lt. Ryan Rabbett said.
Brandishing a large knife, Zapata walked up behind Xavier outside the King Torta restaurant on Valley Boulevard in El Sereno about 3:55 p.m. on March 3 and repeatedly stabbed the teenager in the back, police said. The teen, a senior at nearby Woodrow Wilson High School, stumbled into the restaurant and collapsed onto the dining room floor, where he died.
Zapata had no connection to Xavier, police said Thursday.
“As far as we know there was absolutely no relationship” between them, Rabbett said.
Zapata sped off in the Honda and struck again five hours later, police said, stabbing a man named Daniel Villalobos outside a liquor store about 1 1⁄2 miles away on Valley Boulevard.
Villalobos was hospitalized for stab wounds and is recovering, police said.
Surveillance footage from the two establishments where the crimes occurred helped police identify Zapata, according to Rabbett. The lieutenant said “several individuals” had reached out to the LAPD to identify Zapata as the man in the footage.
Police served a search warrant at Zapata’s home after the arrest, recovering “items of interest,” according to a law enforcement source.
Police attempted to interview Zapata in custody, but he was incoherent during the conversation, according to sources.
Zapata has struggled with mental health issues and drug problems, police and his ex-girlfriend said.
“For a long time I would say, ‘Something is wrong with David. He doesn’t seem right,’ ” said Zapata’s exgirlfriend, Claudia Montes, who shares a child with the accused killer.