The man suspected in a Las Vegas Strip stabbing rampage that left two people dead and six injured appears to have been in Los Angeles in search of help two days before the killings.
In video captured Tuesday by a photographer for NBCLA sister station Telemundo 52, a man who identified himself as Yoni Barrios approached the photographer outside Los Angeles City Hall and asked for help, saying he had lost his home and everything he had.
Photographer Jorge Lopez was in downtown Los Angeles on assignment when the man approached. He didn’t realize the significance of the video until the arrest in Las Vegas.
“He was asking for help,” Lopez said. “He kept telling me, ‘I just want an opportunity, I just want to start from scratch.'”
Barrios was interviewed Thursday at Metro Police Headquarters, where he told officers he had arrived in Las Vegas from California a few days before the attack and was staying with a friend, KNSV-TV reported. The friend told Barrios he could not stay there, so he boarded a bus to the strip Thursday morning, police said.
In the police interview, Barrios told officers he had gone from California to Las Vegas looking for a job as a chef.
Barrios was arrested Thursday and booked on suspicion of two counts of open murder with a deadly weapon and six counts of attempted murder with a deadly weapon, police said early Friday.
Police responded to 911 calls about the stabbings at about midday from near the Wynn casino and hotel. Barrios was detained by Sands Hotel and Casino security guards and officers as he ran on a Strip sidewalk, police said.
Barrios is believed to have thrown the knife used in the attack into bushes, according to police. The weapon was recovered.
Police have not identified a motive for the attack. There did not appear to be any type of confrontation between Barrios and the victims prior to the stabbings, police said.
“The initial altercation or the initial stabbing occurs on the sidewalk area, appears unprovoked — there is no altercation beforehand,” Deputy Police Chief James LaRochelle told reporters.
During the interview, Barrios said he entered a mall in search of a ride back to California before heading to the Wynn and speaking with a janitor about job openings, police said. He later asked showgirl performers for a photo and told officers they appeared to be making fun of him, police said.
Witnesses said they saw the two women running away from a man with a knife before they were stabbed in front of the Wynn. He told police he started looking for groups of people so he could “let his anger out,” KNSV-TV reported.
Two of the eight victims died. The medical examiner’s office identified them as Brent Allan Hallett, 47, and Maris Mareen Digiovanni, 30, both of Las Vegas, a Clark County spokesman said.
Three victims were in critical condition.
They were described as a mix of tourist visitors and Las Vegas locals.
Barrios appeared for arraignment Friday afternoon, but was rescheduled for an appearance later this month. It wasn’t immediately known whether Barrios has a lawyer who could comment on his behalf.