'Just want an opportunity': Yoni Barrios begged for work in LA 2 days before Las Vegas stabbing spree

'Just want an opportunity': Yoni Barrios begged for work in LA 2 days before Las Vegas stabbing spree
Yoni Barrios who was arrested for a mass stabbing at the Las Vegas Strip was begging for a job from strangers outside Los Angeles City Hall (NBC video screengrab/GoFundMe/Las Vegas MPD)

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA: Suspect Yoni Barrios arrested for a mass stabbing at the Las Vegas Strip that left two people dead and six injured was soliciting employment from strangers two days before the stabbing rampage. In a video the 32-year-old approached a photographer Jorge Lopez outside Los Angeles City Hall and begged for help, saying he had lost his home and everything he had.

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The photographer Lopez, who was in downtown, Los Angeles on assignment at the time for broadcaster Telemundo 52 said, "He kept telling me, 'I just want an opportunity, I just want to start from scratch."' "It kind of hit me because he reminded me of my son. My son passed at 38 years old, and he had issues similar to his, so I kind of wanted to help him," he told NBC Los Angeles. Yoni Barrios, 32, has now been booked on two counts of murder and six counts of attempted murder after he frantically stabbed eight people, several showgirls outside a casino with a 12-inch kitchen knife.

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Yoni Barrios Las Vegas mass stabbing (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Yoni Barrios arrested for mass stabbing outside Las Vegas Strip (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)

Barrios had allegedly approached the showgirls for a photo on a pedestrian bridge, but the showgirls told the police they refused the picture because they felt uncomfortable. Furious, he charged at the woman and stabbed her in the back as she ran away, and allegedly stabbed another woman before running down the Strip and looking for groups of people so he could "let the anger out," police said. According to the arrest report, Barrios thought the showgirls were laughing at him and making fun of him before he attacked them. Photographer Lopez said he didn´t realize the significance of the video until Barrios' arrest on October 6 in Las Vegas. 

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(Credit: GoFundMe)
A GoFundMe page has been opened to help the showgirls injured in the attack (GoFundMe)

Police said the assailant was wearing a long-sleeved chef's jacket and was covered in blood at the time of the arrest. Barrios told the casino security guard he was trying to sell his knives that he kept in a suitcase to raise enough money to go back home. Police have retained the weapon that Barrios tossed into bushes while he fled. Brent Allan Hallett, 47, and Maris Mareen DiGiovanni, 30 are the two Las Vegas residents who died in the attack.  Prior to the attack, Barrios reportedly went to the Wynn casino and asked a janitor about jobs and was also seeking work as a chef.

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After the police investigated Barrios' track records they found out that he should have actually been behind bars over a felony charge of domestic abuse in 2018 but the case was dismissed after the Los Angeles District Attorney's office took too long to prosecute it, according to Daily Mail. "I think there is no doubt that our criminal justice system is deeply flawed, and most certainly in the arena of domestic violence," said Cheryl Lowthrop owner of the strip. "Beyond the obvious, had he been convicted and or jailed we would not be in this situation... It is no surprise that we fail to protect our women inside of our legal system as well."

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Court documents obtained by DailyMail reveal that Barrios was charged in 2019 with criminal domestic violence by Los Angeles district attorney Jackie Lacey, who has since left office. If he had been convicted the senseless slaughter wouldn't have occurred. Attorney Lacey failed to bring the case to court in time, and after 90 days the judge was forced to dismiss the case under California speedy trial laws. In 2016, he was prosecuted for driving dangerously without a license. After his arrest, Barrios told detectives he was from Guatemala and wanted ICE to take him home, according to a report released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

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Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said Barrios will be charged with two counts of murder and six counts of attempted murder and the prosecutors will decide in the next 30 to 60 days whether to seek the death penalty in the case. Barrios is being held without bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday.



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