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Garden Grove Man Is Fatally Stabbed at Series Tailgate Party

He is attacked in an Edison Field parking lot and found a few blocks from the stadium. Few other disturbances reported.

October 29, 2002|Christine Hanley | Times Staff Writer

Amid otherwise orderly World Series celebrations, a Garden Grove man was fatally stabbed during a tailgate party in the parking lot of Edison International Field, authorities said Monday.

The body of Leopoldo "Polo" Bastida -- described by his family as a lifelong Angels fan -- was found a few blocks from the ballpark about 9 p.m. Sunday, just after the team defeated the San Francisco Giants in Game 7.

A man directing stadium traffic dialed 911 after he saw Bastida bleeding near a commercial strip on West Orangewood Avenue. Police identified Bastida, 27, as a gang member who spent most of his adult life in and out of incarceration.

The slaying was the one dark spot in what police said was a largely peaceful celebration. A few revelers ignited trash cans and tried to overturn cars, but further disobedience was quickly thwarted by police. A few fans who ran onto the field after the game were booked for trespassing.

Investigators said Bastida's body was shirtless but released few other details. Authorities, who had no suspects or motive, asked witnesses to help them piece together what happened.

"It could have been anything -- a fan dispute, an argument over a girl, a drunken brawl, or gang-related. We don't know," said Lt. Mike Hidalgo.

Records from the California Department of Corrections show that over the last 10 years Bastida was sentenced to five years for assault with a firearm, and 16 months for weapons possession.

In Garden Grove, where Bastida has lived for the last 15 years, the Police Department's gang unit had numerous run-ins with him involving drugs and weapons, said Lt. Scott Hamilton.

Relatives who gathered at Bastida's home Monday said he attended many Angel games. His mother said her son, the oldest of her three children, gave her a kiss and a hug before he left their home with a friend Sunday.

"What happened last night should have never happened," said Amparo Bastida, 50, holding back tears. "To me, he was a good kid."

Bastida had called his girlfriend just hours before his body was found and asked her to meet him, relatives said.

Bastida's relatives urged anyone with information to come forward. "There were so many people there," said Gina Collazo, who is married to Bastida's cousin. "It's hard to believe no one saw anything."

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