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2 Hollywood Neighbors Fatally Stabbed

One victim was on the phone with an airline ticket agent when he was attacked. A single suspect is sought.

June 14, 2004|Eric Slater | Times Staff Writer

A man inside his Hollywood home was speaking on the telephone to a Southwest Airlines ticket agent Sunday morning when an assailant apparently broke in and stabbed him to death as the ticket agent and then a supervisor listened to the struggle, then called 911, police said.

Police responding to the 911 call soon learned that the victim's neighbor also had been stabbed to death early Sunday, apparently by the same suspect, who has not been identified but is believed to be a male in his 40s.

They were "very gruesome crime scenes, each one of them," said Los Angeles Police Department spokesman Lt. Art Miller.

Shortly before 11 a.m., Southwest Airlines called 911 and reported that an agent had been making reservations for a man when the agent "heard a commotion and the phone went dead," Miller said. "The operator called her supervisor over and they monitored the phone ... and then called 911."

Within minutes, Miller said, officers from the LAPD's Hollywood Division responded to the house in the 1600 block of North Stanley Avenue and saw a body inside.

They kicked down the door, searched the house and, finding no one else inside, called homicide detectives.

Investigators quickly linked the slaying with another stabbing death Sunday morning -- that of a man who lived on North Courtney Avenue, directly behind the other victim.

Police said they believed they knew the identities of both victims, but were awaiting confirmation from the coroner's office.

The man who lived on North Stanley was in his 60s, police said, and the man who lived on Courtney in his 90s.

One of the ways police linked the two killings, Miller said, was that police found "evidence" that had been taken from the home on North Courtney Avenue inside the North Stanley home.

Miller said that the motive for the slayings was not clear. A black Mercedes-Benz was stolen from the North Stanley home but recovered a short time later not far away.

"On the one hand, these are very gruesome murders," Miller said. "On the other hand, we don't want to alarm people. We want them to go about their lives and call us if they see anything out of the ordinary."

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