The hate crimes task force of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is investigating the stabbing of a 20-year-old black man at a Carl's Jr. restaurant in Temple City, authorities said Monday.
The stabbing occurred about 11:45 p.m. Friday and began with a confrontation inside the restaurant between a white teenager and the victim that involved racial epithets, said Sgt. David Austin of the sheriff's Temple City station.
"One of the suspects was trying to initiate a physical confrontation," Austin said. The victim, identified as Don Meyer of Temple City, attempted to leave the restaurant with two friends, Austin said.
But there was another scuffle in the parking lot in which the teenager who initiated the confrontation, along with another teenager, fought with Meyer. Meyer fled down the street and joined friends who noticed that his back was bleeding, Austin said.
Meyer was treated by paramedics and taken to a hospital.
Although she did not witness the fight, an assistant manager at the restaurant said two employees told her that the victim was with several friends, including a woman, when the confrontation began.
"A white guy came in and started the fight and then ran outside where others were waiting," Dulce Chuc said. "And boom, that is when everything started happening."
Tamara Vanderlee, a neighbor of Meyer, said his younger brother told her that the two were eating at the restaurant when a small group of young white men began harassing them and one punched his brother in the face.
Leaving the restaurant, the brothers were confronted by a larger group of whites, some armed with baseball bats, Vanderlee said she was told. It was then, according to Vanderlee, that Meyer was stabbed and his brother was struck with a baseball bat.
The brothers "are not problematic boys," Vanderlee said. "They are not rowdy kids in any way. They are very quiet, respectable young men."
Sheriff's Lt. Stacy Lee said the stabbing will be investigated as a possible racial incident. Lee also said she had no information about anyone other than Meyer being injured or that any attacker used a baseball bat.
No one has been arrested in the case, Austin said.