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Criminal Justice

Man Who Fatally Stabbed El Sereno Teenager Could Face 40 Years To Life

A line of yellow police tape stretches over a sidewalk at night.
(Peggy Archer via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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David Zapata is facing 30 years to life for the murder of 17-year-old Xavier Chavarin and attempted murder of 33-year-old Daniel Villalobos, authorities announced Friday. His arraignment is scheduled to take place Friday afternoon.

In a press conference, L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón said the suspect did not know either of the victims and the motivation remains unknown. There is no reason to believe he suffered from mental health issues, Gascón said.

"These were senseless attacks. No confrontation, no words exchanged. Really just spontaneous and brutal," said LAPD Deputy Chief Michael Oreb.

LAPD is actively pursuing a second suspect, who drove away from the crime scene last Friday. That investigation is ongoing.

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The second victim – 33-year old Villalobos – was discharged from the hospital on Wednesday and is now in stable condition, authorities said.

Last Friday afternoon, Chavarin was waiting to get picked up from high school when Zapata approached him from behind and stabbed him.

Chavarin walked into a nearby King Torta asking for help before he collapsed to the floor on Friday. Police said the stabbing happened around 4 p.m. that day.

Zapata surrendered and was arrested Wednesday at his home following a brief standoff with police. Homicide detectives were serving a search warrant at Zapata's home.

Chavarin's family described him as a dedicated, straight-A student who attended Woodrow Wilson High School.

"[Chavarin] had a promising future ahead of him, and he was innocent," Gascón said.

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