A man accused of fatally stabbing two people and injuring six others in Las Vegas, authorities asked a group of showgirls at a hotel if they would take pictures with himself and a one-foot-long kitchen knife before the fatal attack.
According to researchers, 32-year-old Yoni Barrios took a bus to the Wynn hotel and casino on the Strip Thursday morning after arriving from California to inquire about a job. He approached the showgirls, told them he was the chef, and asked if they could take a picture with him and his knife.
According to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department arrest report obtained by The Times, Barrios thought they were “laughing at him and making fun of his clothes” and allegedly stabbed at least two of them. Maris Mareen DiGiovanni, 30, died of her injuries at the UMC Trauma Center.
Barrios began running after the attack and later told authorities he was looking for people to “blow out the anger,” according to the police report. He allegedly attacked several people outside the hotel and fatally stabbed 47-year-old Brent Hallett in the back.
Police said a total of eight victims had been identified by the time the attack ended. 7 people were hospitalized. It was determined that Halit died at the scene.
Both deaths were considered homicide by the Clark County coroner. DiGiovanni was stabbed to death in the chest, and Hallett was stabbed to death in the back.
Police said Barrios was arrested shortly after the stabbings and the knife was recovered. He was treated at Sunrise Hospital for minor injuries and was admitted to the Clark County Detention Center on suspicion of two counts of murder with deadly weapons and six counts of attempted murder with a deadly weapon.
“This was an isolated incident,” James LaRochelle, Deputy Chief of Las Vegas Metro Police, said on Thursday. “All the evidence indicates that Barrios acted alone and there are no suspects pending at this time.”
According to reports, Barrios appeared in court at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas on Friday afternoon. The judge did not set bail; Barrios is scheduled to appear at 8:30pm on Tuesday.
According to Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, the victims appeared to be a mix of locals and tourists.
According to the police report, a showgirl who survived the attack told police that Barrios approached her, DiGiovanni, and another showgirl and asked if they could take a picture with her and her knife, according to the police report. When the woman started to feel uncomfortable and backed off, Barrios allegedly stabbed her in the back. Police said they also saw Barrios being charged in DiGiovanni. The woman managed to escape and return to Wynn, where she remained until she was taken to the UMC Trauma Center.
Another stabbing victim said he was walking with his wife on the Strip near Wynn when he saw Barrios running towards him with a knife in hand, according to the police report. The man said he ran past Barrios and said “I’m sorry man” before stabbing him in the back. He screamed for help as his wife put pressure on his wound.
According to the police report, Barrios left California two days before the attacks and went to the Strip after a friend told him he couldn’t stay at home. Barrios had asked a janitor at the hotel to contact immigration authorities so he could get to his home in Guatemala. Police also told a security guard that he tried to sell knives so he could earn money to return home.
A GoFundMe page was set up to raise funeral and other expenses for DiGiovanni’s family. More than $7,000 had been raised as of Friday evening.
“Maris was a light in the world, illuminating every space she touched,” wrote Ariel Bongard, fundraising organizer and one of DiGiovanni’s friends. “We will live the light and always remember it.”
“We would like to extend our deepest condolences to the families of the victims and to the victims themselves,” LaRochelle said. “This is clearly a very tragic and elusive murder investigation, and it deeply impacts our community.”
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