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Teenagers stabbed at Redondo Beach mall in stable condition

December 30, 2012 |  6:21 pm
Inside the South Bay Galleria in 2011

A teenage boy and girl stabbed inside the South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach remain in stable condition after surgery, police said Sunday.

The 13-year-old victims, who have not been identified, talked briefly with police about Saturday night's attack by a stranger outside the movie theaters at the mall, said Sgt. Shawn Freeman of the Redondo Beach Police Department.

The man stabbed the victims in the chest area, though other details of their injuries were not released. The two victims are in intensive care.

The attacker is described as African American man, between 40 to 50 years old, tall with a medium build, police said. He may have been wearing prescription glasses and sported both a beard and mustache, possibly graying.

He was dressed in a camouflage jacket, perhaps green and brown; a black T-shirt; jeans; and a dark beanie, police said. Police said he used a kitchen knife with a black handle as a weapon.

The stabbing occurred in the public area of the mall’s third level, where a food court and the theaters are. By late Sunday, not a single witness had come forward, Freeman said, though bystanders did see the children collapsing and yelling for medical help.

The victims, who are friends, had arrived at the mall with friends and family, but they were alone without adult supervision when the stabbing occurred, Freeman said. The attack "was completely  unprovoked," he said.

A mall security officer discovered the injured pair and alerted officers who already were in the shopping center area. Before the boy fainted, he provided an initial description of the attacker, police Sgt. David Christian said.

Many stores were in the process of closing as the investigation began, and officers did not order a lockdown, but they did stop vehicles leaving the building.

"We did not have a lot to go on," Christian said. "We basically blocked all the exits for the parking area. We just stopped every car that went by and looked inside with a flashlight and talked to the people inside. It was a lot of cars."

Police are reviewing surveillance video from every store at the mall to see "if, maybe, the suspect was at another place on another level a minute before," Freeman said. "We're doing our best to come up with a complete picture."

When Redondo Beach officers first responded to the attack, police from Torrance, Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach came to help.

A manager at the movie complex, which was showing such holiday releases as "Les Miserables," "Jack Reacher" and "Django Unchained," told The Times that the mall administration had directed her to close the theaters.

"We don’t know anything about it," said the woman, who did not give her name. "I don’t know what happened. The mall said, you need to close down."

Christian said he was not aware of any order from police to close the cinemas, but he said he thought that after the attack, the theaters were allowing no further admissions.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Redondo Beach police tip line at (310) 937-6685 or send a text message to (310) 339-2362.


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-- Anh Do and Howard Blume