By Yaneira Rodriguez
A man was arrested and charged with the murder of 17 year old Xavier Chavarin and the attempted murder of Daniel Villalobos. 32 year old David Anthony Zapata has been charged with one count each of murder and attempted murder with the special allegation of personally using a deadly and dangerous weapon, a knife.
On March 3, Chavarin was waiting for his mom on Valley Boulevard in El Sereno when he was violently attacked. Surveillance shows Zapata exit a vehicle and approach Chavarin from behind. Chavarin was stabbed several times in the back. Chavarin walked into King Torta restaurant to get help and later collapsed and died. Several hours later Zapata stabbed Villalobos on the same street. Villalobos was leaving work when Zapata approached him and stabbed him six times. Villalobos was able to fight off Zapata and luckily the father of three survived.
Days later on March 8 around 7 a.m. police surrounded a home in Alhambra where they believed Zapata had barricaded himself. A crisis negotiation team was brought in to handle the situation and after two hours, police were able to convince Zapata to surrender peacefully. Police say the attacks on both victims were completely unprovoked. Zapata does suffer from mental illness and has seven previous misdemeanor arrests but no felonies.
Now Los Angeles police are seeking a second possible suspect. A male who was a passenger in the car Zapata was seen fleeing in. Police are not releasing many details because they believe it will compromise the ongoing investigation.
Chavarin’s family said he was a straight A student who was supposed to graduate from Woodrow Wilson High this June. His mother, Laura Frias, told NBC4, “It breaks my heart, the fact that they just took him from me.” There is a memorial where the incident took place. Woodrow Wilson High added counselors to comfort students and staff affected by this tragedy.
Zapata is in custody with a $3 million bail. If convicted, he faces the maximum of 40 years to life in prison, District Attorney George Gascon said. One attorney, Joseph A. Markus told the judge that Zapata’s defense team is investigating issues of “competence,” “mental state” and “not guilty by reason of insanity.”
Arraignment is set for April 21 at the downtown Los Angeles courthouse.