Witnesses describe chaotic, terrifying scene of stabbing rampage in Hollywood

Witnesses described a chaotic scene Tuesday when a knife-wielding man went on a rampage in Hollywood, stabbing three people before being fatally shot by officers of the Los Angeles Police Department.

The assailant — described only as a man in his 30s — stabbed a bicyclist about 2 p.m. along the north side of Sunset Boulevard near Ivar Avenue, said Sgt. Frank Preciado, an LAPD spokesman. Officials said the man carried no identification.

Video posted on social media from inside a Jack in the Box on Sunset Boulevard shows a person calling for a makeshift tourniquet for a victim, seen sitting in a chair with a pool of blood on the floor. 

Moans can be heard in the video. As an officer reports “shots fired,” another can be seen kneeling over a person face-down on the ground, holding the person’s arm.

Korvyn Gomez, 27, said he was leaving the nearby Los Angeles Film School to get some French fries when he saw a man near the restaurant’s door — carrying a bloody butcher knife. 

Gomez ran across the street, where a police car was waiting to make a turn. He told the officers in the vehicle what he saw. Soon after, he said, a man with what appeared to be stab wounds to the rib cage emerged from the restaurant, yelling: “He stabbed me! He stabbed me!” 

Gomez said he then heard two or three gunshots, which he assumed were fired by police.

Other witnesses said they desperately called police during the incident while trying to tend to the injured.

"As I was calling 911, cops were just swarming and coming out of nowhere," witness Rabisia Cook-Roberts told KABC-TV. "I just made sure that guy who got stabbed was OK."

Terrell Bradford told KNBC-TV he was riding his bike when the attacker tried to stab him.

"I told him to back away as he tried to come after me," he told the station.

Bradford said he was able to get away, but the attacker then stabbed a friend in the arm,

The attack occurred on a popular corridor along Sunset Boulevard near the ArcLight Cinemas, Amoeba Music and the Los Angeles offices of CNN. 

After the first stabbing, the assailant ran down Sunset Boulevard and tried to get into a coffee shop, but employees held the door shut, Preciado said.

The man continued eastbound and walked into the Jack in the Box, where he stabbed another man, Preciado said.

As the second victim fled the fast-food restaurant, police officers rushed inside. The man then knifed a third person.

Officers confronted the attacker and shot him an unknown number of times. Preciado said police also attempted to use a Taser.

The man died at the scene. Authorities did not release his name, and investigators were still trying to determine a motive for the attacks, Preciado said.

Roger Robertson, 53, lives in Hollywood and walks to the Los Angeles Film School, where he is a student, three days a week. He described the nearby Jack in the Box as having a “bad atmosphere” where many transients hang out and ask passing tourists for money, sometimes leading to confrontations.

“It gets bad,” Robertson told The Times.

Robertson said he once saw a patron jump over the restaurant’s counter and attack an employee. 

“It’s worst at night,” he said, adding that the fast-food restaurant is open 24 hours and is sometimes staffed by a security guard.

City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, whose district includes Hollywood and East Hollywood, commended LAPD officers for their swift response to the stabbings.

“It saved lives,” O’Farrell said at a news conference Tuesday night.

Investigators were unsure if the assailant knew the three victims, or if they were otherwise connected, police said.

For the inquiry into the shooting, authorities were planning to review surveillance video. Preciado said there was no footage from body-worn cameras. 

All three victims were taken to hospitals with stab wounds. Two were initially listed in critical condition and were undergoing surgery late Tuesday, according to Josh Rubenstein, a spokesman for the LAPD. Both were considered medically stable.

The third man was expected to be released from the hospital Wednesday.

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