Two dead, six injured in stabbings outside Las Vegas casino: Police

Douglas Sacha/Getty Images

(LAS VEGAS) -- The suspect in the stabbing spree that left two dead and six others injured allegedly stabbed his victims so he could "let the anger out," according to an arrest report.

The suspect, who had recently arrived in Las Vegas, chose his targets at random, a source told ABC News.

The attacks started outside a Las Vegas casino midday Thursday. Detectives believe there was an exchange of some sort between the suspect and the first victim, Maris Mareen Digiovanni, a street performer, prior to the stabbings, the source said.

Surveillance footage captured the suspect, 32-year-old Yoni Barrios, briefly going inside the Wynn Casino, before he approached a group of performers, including Digiovanni, who were standing outside nearby, according to an arrest report.

He reportedly told detectives he asked to take a picture with them, removing a black carbon knife from a suitcase and telling the women he was a chef, according to the arrest report.

In interviews with police, the surviving performers said he made them feel uncomfortable, according to the police report. Barrios reportedly told police he thought they were laughing at them and making fun of his clothing. He became angry and stabbed the first victim in the chest, according to the report.

"Barrios started running and looking for groups of people so he could 'let the anger out,'" the arrest report stated.

At one point, a victim who was stabbed told police that Barrios said "sorry man" as he attacked him, according to the report.

Barrios allegedly told police that he knew none of the victims and was hoping police would shoot him, the arrest report said.

Barrios was taken into custody within a "matter of minutes" by a security guard and police officer after fleeing the scene, police said. A large kitchen knife used in the incident was recovered from the scene, police said.

He was booked on two counts of open murder with a deadly weapon and six counts of attempted murder with a deadly weapon, police said.

Barrios was ordered held without bail during a court appearance Friday afternoon and is scheduled to next appear in court on Tuesday. Attorney information was not immediately available.

Police believe Barrios acted alone, adding that a motive is unknown.

During questioning by detectives, the suspect allegedly confessed and said he was sorry and acknowledged what he did was wrong, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation. He allegedly did not have a coherent explanation, making it seem that he had snapped, the official said.

Detectives are also seeing if multiple phones the suspect had on him might reveal information about the attack or the suspect's recent activities, the official said.

The victims include both locals and tourists, Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said during a press briefing Thursday.

Three victims were in critical condition and another three in stable condition Thursday night, police said.

The initial stabbing, which took place around 11:40 a.m. local time, occurred on the sidewalk along Las Vegas Boulevard, Deputy Chief James LaRochelle told reporters.

Video surveillance showed the suspect stab several victims, including Digiovanni, according to the arrest report. The suspect then ran south along the sidewalk, where he stabbed victim Brent Hallet in the back, killing him, according to the arrest report.

The suspect continued running south, stabbing two more victims, before turning east along Sands Avenue, where he stabbed two more victims, according to the report.

Hallet was pronounced dead at the scene, and Digiovanni died after being transported to the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, according to the arrest report.

Barrios is believed to be from Guatemala and had traveled through Mexico and was in California prior to arriving in Las Vegas, according to the law enforcement source. Authorities are investigating whether he was in the U.S. legally, the source said.

Barrios had arrived in Las Vegas approximately two days before the attack, according to the arrest report.

He arrived on the Strip Thursday morning, toting a suitcase that included his knives and dressed in what appeared to be a chef's uniform, according to the arrest report. In an interview with detectives, Barrios reportedly said he asked chauffeurs at Wynn for a ride back to California. He then walked into the hotel and asked a janitor about job opportunities and to contact Immigration and Customs Enforcement for him "so he could return home to Guatemala," according to the report.

He reportedly told a security guard he was attempting to sell his knives so he could get money to return to Guatemala, to which the security guard at the casino allegedly responded: go jump in front of a train, according to the report.

Barrios allegedly has a criminal history in California, including driving under the influence and a domestic violence episode, but nothing that would have made a noticeable risk to the community, the source said.

He is believed to have had a wife and children in California and went to Vegas to stay with a male friend, the source said. Detectives are investigating what that relationship was and seeking out other acquaintances, according to the source.

ABC News' Lisa Sivertsen, Matt Gutman and Irving Last contributed to this report.


Friday, October 7, 2022 at 7:40PM by Emily Shapiro, Josh Margoli and Meredith Deliso, ABC News Permalink