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Man Fatally Stabbed at Santa Monica Beach

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By Jorge Casuso

August 1, 2023 -- A man was fatally stabbed at Santa Monica Beach Monday afternoon, with the incident at the popular tourist destination aired by local news stations and shared on social media.
Juan Evarastico Bahena

Juan Evarastico Bahena, a 48-year-old-homeless man, was arrested by Santa Monica police responding to an assault with a deadly weapon shortly after 2 p.m. on the 2000 block of the beach.

The officers found "a single victim on the east side of the beach restrooms suffering from at least one stab wound to his chest," said Lt. Erika Aklufi, the Police Department spokesperson.

Left: Juan Evarastico Bahena (Photo courtesy SMPD)

Witnesses told officers they "heard an argument break out between the victim and suspect in the breezeway next to the men’s restrooms," Aklufi said.

Police said one of the witnesses saw the suspect "stab the victim several times in the torso and chest."

The victim, a 27-year-old male, was unconscious when officers arrived. They rendered aid, then performed CPR until fire department paramedics arrrived, Aklufi said.

The victim was taken to a local hospital where he died of his injuries. His identity is being withheld until his family can be notified.

The suspect was identified by witnesses and taken into custody, police said. He was arrested for murder and booked into the Santa Monica Jail.

"Officers believe they located the weapon in the suspect’s backpack," Aklufi said.

Footage of the police response aired on local news stations and shared on social media show the victim laying on the ground next to a large streak of blood as officers come to his aid.

The incident took place on a sunny afternoon near the boardwalk south of the Pier, a world-renown tourist destination.

The fatal stabbing comes four and a half months after a City worker was stabbed by a homeless man he tried to rouse from his sleep in Palisades Park ("Homeless Man Stabs City Worker in Palisades Park," March 16, 2023).

Monday's incident furthers a trend that has seen knives -- which unlike guns are legal to carry without a permit -- increasingly used in local crimes ("Why Homeless Knife Attacks Have Increased in Santa Monica," March 16, 2023).

Monday's killing, which was the first murder reported this year, comes nine months after a man found stabbed to death in his car at a beach parking lot in November ("Michigan Man Extradited for Santa Monica Murder," January 20, 2023).

Anyone with information related to Monday's fatal stabbing or suspect should call the SMPD Investigations Division during business hours at (310) 458-8451 or the Watch Commander 24-hours at (310) 458-8427.

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