The Las Vegas showgirl killed by a knife-wielding maniac was stabbed in the heart and died in her friend’s arms as she tried to give first aid, their boss told The Post.
Maris Digiovanni was one of two killed and six wounded in the broad-daylight attack on the famed Vegas Strip by a crazed man wielding a kitchen knife.
The alleged stabber, Yoni Barrios, first asked a group of women dressed as showgirls to take a picture of him with a knife. When they declined, he began his stabbing frenzy.
Barrios seemed “coiffured” and was “smiling and friendly” just seconds before the attack, said Cheryl Lowthorp, who runs Best Showgirls in Vegas, which employs the women.
“It just happened so fast; he stabbed Maris in the heart,” Lowthorp said of the scene that unfolded on Las Vegas Boulevard near the Wynn hotel.
Lowthorp, who was not with the girls at the time, said one of the showgirls was able to run away, but another — identified only as Anna – went to give Maris first aid.
“She already knew Maris was gone because she passed away in her arms,” Lowthorp added.
As she was rendering first aid, Barrios stabbed Anna in the back, puncturing her lung.
Lowthorp — who was visiting her injured employees in the hospital Friday — said she was no longer in critical condition but still being treated for her injuries.
A GoFundMe was set up to raise money for the injured girls’ hospital bills and raised over $1,800 in its first few hours.
Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said the victims were both tourists and locals. Alongside Digiovanni, Las Vegas resident Brent Allan Hallett, 47, was also killed, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
Two of the other victims are believed to be in critical condition, while the others were all taken to the hospital for treatment.
Las Vegas police charged Barrios, 32, with two counts of open murder with a deadly weapon and six counts of attempted murder. The motive for the crazed attack is unknown and he is due to appear in court Friday.
“This is clearly a tragic and hard-to-understand — hard-to-comprehend — murder investigation that deeply impacts our community,” said Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Deputy Chief James LaRochelle.
Lowthorp described Digiovanni as an “exceptional young woman” who had traveled the world and taught English to children in Hong Kong.
“She was always looking out for the girls,” Lowthorp said.
Lowthorp’s employees wander the Strip dressed as showgirls and pose for pictures in exchange for tips, as they are not actual showgirls.
“If they are not comfortable interacting with certain people, they don’t have to,” she explained. “It’s truly a beautiful sisterhood of women and we had a beautiful and safe place.”
That dynamic has been destroyed with this, the first violent encounter in all of Lowthorp’s years on the job.
“For 12 years, we have been without any arrests and no one has been hurt,” she said. Barrios “did not just take Maris’ beautiful life. This has shattered all of us.”