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Stabbing Victim's Parents Speak Out

Rich and Maria's son is one of two teens stabbed at the South Bay Galleria on Dec. 29.

The parents of the 13-year-old boy who was stabbed Dec. 29 in an attack at the South Bay Galleria spoke at a news conference Thursday morning to plead for the public's help in the search for a suspect.

"We're here today … to put (out) as much information as we have on this individual," said Rich, the father of the boy.  "We want him captured before another parent has to go through the pain and agony that we did."

Out of respect for the privacy of the family, police are not releasing the victims' names, hometowns and other identifying information. The boy's parents did not give their last name.

According to Rich, he found out something had happened to his son when an anonymous Good Samaritan called him from his son's cellphone.

"It's devastating, to say the least … You don't know the fate of your son at that point," Rich said, recalling how he thought about the parents of the victims in the Sandy Hook elementary shooting as he waited for news on his son. "You don't know what his condition is."

The two teens—a boy and a girl—had seen the movie Red Dawn several hours prior and were sitting on a bench outside the AMC Theaters in the mall when the man walked up and stabbed them.

"This is a completely random and unprovoked attack," said Lt. Joe Hoffman of the Redondo Beach Police Department.

The girl was stabbed three times in the chest area, side and clavicle, while Rich's son was stabbed six times. One of the stab wounds went through his heart and lung.

"The paramedics did an incredible job at the scene to stabilize him," said Maria, the boy's mother.

Both teens have been released from the hospital and are recuperating at home, according to Lt. Joe Hoffman of the Redondo Beach Police Department.

"As bad and as horrific as it was—and it was awful—we still get to go home, we get to hug our kid," Rich told reporters. "I get to tell my boy how much I love him. I get to tell my boy how proud of him I am. I get to tell my boy how great he was and how much I admire him and how much he’s my hero."

The victims described the attacker as a 40- to 50-year-old tall black man with a medium build. He had a beard and a mustache that may have been graying, and he was possibly wearing prescription glasses. He was wearing a fatigue-type jacket that may have been green and brown, blue jeans, a black T-shirt and a dark-colored beanie.

The weapon used was described as a kitchen knife with a black handle.

From the suspect's description, police were able to locate the suspect in several surveillance videos from businesses inside the mall.

The police department, in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the man who stabbed the teens, city officials announced at Tuesday's news conference.

According to Redondo Beach mayor Mike Gin, the local FBI office made the reward possible. Hoffman said FBI agents have assisted police with collecting, reviewing and enhancing surveillance video from the mall.

"Having the support of the FBI in this case makes resources available to us in the investigation that we might otherwise not have immediate access to," Hoffman said. "It is in the best interest of all law enforcement to ID a suspect in this case."

Anyone who has seen the suspect or who may have information on the stabbings—no matter how inconsequential it seems—is being asked to contact the Redondo Beach Police Department's tip line at 310-937-6685, Hoffman said. People can also text their information to 310-339-2362.

Penny Sisto January 25, 2013 at 02:10 AM
I am so very sorry that this happened to these 2 kids and their families! I am very happy that there is a reward being offered and so hope that this man is found! I am just curious - I am pretty sure that I myself have sat on the bench that is mentioned several times - right outside Macy's and there is a nail place and eyebrow removal place directly by those benches.....how in the "world" were those children stabbed independently so many times and no one saw it? How did that man get away with a weapon that HAD to be dripping blood without anyone noticing? I just don't understand all of this, but I know that my kids that usually go to the Galleria for movies and my daughter right there for her eyebrows HAVE not even mentioned going over there for 2 months! I just don't understand how this could have happened!
Robert Keane January 25, 2013 at 05:05 AM
How is it possible that the city stopped paying its share to have police officers assigned to the galleria? Why has the city cut so many officers off of the force?
Diane Naletich January 25, 2013 at 03:48 PM
Elections are coming up. Now is the time to find out what the candidates plan to do to ensure public safety and budgeting.
Diane Naletich January 25, 2013 at 03:49 PM
I am so sad that these poor families are suffering so much. Wishing a speedy resolution to this, and praying that the children are recovering fully.
Bruce Szeles January 25, 2013 at 09:59 PM
Robert - I believe you need to check the facts of your first statement. The cities portion of the extra security would have come from the redevelopment agency funds and not the city's general fund. When the State did away with RA so went the funds to pay for extra security. To your second statement. The city is only down I believe 3 patrol officers currently in the city which does not seem that out of line with the state of the economy. There seems to be a real disconnect with some of the statements that you make here and the statements of one of the candidates who is running for council in this district (4). These statements that this candidate is making are not based on facts. I have every confidence that Joe Leonardi and the excellent officers at the RBPD will bring this guy to justice.
Robert Keane January 26, 2013 at 02:10 AM
Bruce. I don't know what to make of your statement. I spoke with a member of the Police Department and he told me that 5 years ago the Police Department had 105 Officers and today they have 84. He also said that the City permanently eliminated nine positions and are currently authorized at 96. That's a huge reduction and I'm wondering what the city is doing with all the money it's not spending on the Police Department. I support the cops and I think it's not as safe here as it used to be. Can you tell me where you got your numbers from? You're saying one thing and the cops are saying another. I would like to know who is right
Bruce Szeles January 26, 2013 at 03:17 PM
Robert - My count came from city staff and my reference number is patrol officers only (boots on the street fighting crime). I know there was a reduction in other personnel other then patrol officers and that could be where the disconnect is but your statement on the city not fundiing extra Galleria sceurity is just not accurate. Personally I spend a lot of time at the Galleria. I take my wife and kids there. I've lived down the street from the Galleria for 20 years. What happened at the Galleria could have happened anywhere. The priority NOW is to work to bring this criminal to justice. Thank you.
Kelly Sarkisian January 26, 2013 at 04:15 PM
I received the same information as Robert regarding both issues. The CM chose to not fund the city's half of the cost share program. The redevelopment money did go away, but the CM chose not to replace it. It did reduce coverage out there, ask the mall management (ask Nordstroms too). As per the numbers of cops. It's currently at 84, shifts are not being filled and they are forced to work overtime. There is no disconnect, all of the sworn cops are " boots on the street fighting crime"! There are just less of them to do so. It's easy to understand a correlation between less cops and more crime like the mall stabbing. I'm sure the Chief is doing everything he can to work through the issue, but the CM and the council have to stop using the funding for pet projects and reinvest it in public safety. There is no point in having a nice new pier/ waterfront if it's going to be taken over by criminals ala the 90's.
Bruce Szeles January 26, 2013 at 08:17 PM
Kelly - "The CM chose not to fund the city's half of the cost share program" Really? In a world were tax payers like yourself are screeming that city management need to stick to their budget I find your statement out of step with some of your other posts. My "boots" point is Joe trimmed non essential support staff first like any good manager would do. Your statement reads like there is no difference between office personnel and a patrol officer. You state that "there is a correlation between less cops and more crime". I agree, so why have the crime stats been down these past years? Believe me, I would like nothing better then to hire more officers. I would also like to see a real PD station in NR instead of the poser station on Artesia Blvd. that our current council member pats himself on the back for but all these cost real dollars and need long term funding. I'm not the city manager but I'm sure there is a way to craft some sort of enterprise zone in areas of the city that were tied to the RA and put the funds needed for things like the extra security at the Galleria because just one violent crime is one too many.
Kelly Sarkisian January 26, 2013 at 09:02 PM
I'm all for saving money, the problem is the CM took the savings from hiring officers and wasted it on pet projects, for example: pier lease holds, pier signs, non operational fountains ect. Educate yourself on the crime stats at the mall, they have not gone down. My comment regarding boots on the street referred to maximizing the street level cops, the Chief has already done what he can in that area. I have no clue about the poser station up north, by your assessment it seems to just be window dressing. The PD appears to be working at emergency staffing now, I hope they don't lose more in the next retirement cycle.
MILES STEINBERG January 27, 2013 at 01:57 AM
Don`t waste your time arguing with that politician...
Wolfman February 12, 2013 at 06:17 PM
Don't forget what happened to the Hawthorne Mall when crime took over and the police station was right across the street
Spilly August 17, 2013 at 12:47 PM
Redondo beach, CA to Hawthorne,CA ,!! there is no comparesment at all... Redondo beach is by far a way better &safer,cleaner,city than Hawthorne is... Ginnie a break ..
Spilly August 17, 2013 at 12:47 PM
Redondo beach, CA to Hawthorne,CA ,!! there is no comparesment at all... Redondo beach is by far a way better &safer,cleaner,city than Hawthorne is... Ginnie a break ..


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