Ke Chieh Meng was walking her two dogs in Riverside’s La Sierra neighborhood when she was attacked. Surveillance video shows a figure in dark clothing crossing the street and quickly walking up to Meng just before she was stabbed.
A 64-year-old Asian woman has been fatally stabbed while walking her dogs in what police in Southern California are calling a random attack.
Officers and paramedics responding to 911 calls about a woman lying on the street Saturday morning found Ke Chieh Meng bleeding with multiple stab wounds, said Officer Ryan Railsback, a spokesman for the Riverside police department.
The surveillance footage from a neighboring house shows, a stranger approached on the otherwise empty street.
Moments later, Meng, 64, lay dying on the sidewalk, fatally stabbed in the stomach. She was taken to a hospital, where she died of her injuries, he said.
Amid the commotion of officers at the Riverside neighborhood, residents began to call authorities about a woman walking through their yards, Railsback said. Officers found and detained the woman, who authorities identified as Darlene Stephanie Montoya, 23, of Monterey Park.
Montoya had been arrested by Riverside Police officers on March 30 on suspicion of attacking a woman with a skateboard on Tyler Avenue at the 91 Freeway overpass.
“Officers arrested and booked Ms. Montoya into jail for assault with a deadly weapon, but due to the current emergency bail schedule during the COVID-19 pandemic, she was released on a ‘Notice to Appear’ citation,” a police statement said.
Montoya was booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center on suspicion of murder, a weapons violation, and being under the influence of an illegal substance.
She is being held without bail. It's not known whether she has retained an attorney.
Railsback said the suspect is homeless and “obviously experiencing mental health and substance abuse issues.”
“The suspect is homeless from L.A. County and is obviously experiencing mental health and substance abuse issues,” said Riverside Police officer Ryan Railsback, “The attack could have happened to anyone.”
The stabbing victim was Asian, but investigators who questioned Montoya “didn't come across anything to suggest she attacked the victim due to her race,” Railsback said.
Although the attack comes during an upswell of racist assaults and threats against Asian Americans, police said their early investigation didn’t suggest race was a factor in Meng’s killing.
"When our detectives interviewed the suspect, they didn't come across anything to suggest she attacked the victim due to her race," Riverside Police spokesperson Officer Ryan Railsback said.
The Family of 64-year-old Ke Chieh Meng says they’re having a tough time saying goodbye.
But as police continue to investigate, Meng’s family is demanding answers about Montoya’s motive — and about why she was released so quickly from custody after allegedly assaulting someone else days earlier.
"My heart... it felt like it was getting torn in half. I’m an only child too. My mother came here to this country to give me my American dream," her son Yi Bai said.
“Why was it her? Was it because she is elderly and she can’t fight back? Was it that she was an easy target? Was it that she was Asian?” Meng’s son, Yi Bai, told KNBC. “I don’t really know why she was attacked.”
Thousands of race-related attacks against Asian Americans have been reported during the pandemic.
Article Source: CNN