Authorities say a 35-year-old father was stabbed Wednesday night while holding his 5-year-old daughter at a restaurant in Ventura, California. CBS Los Angeles is reporting that around 9:20 p.m., 911 calls poured in about a stabbing at the Aloha Steakhouse at 364 S. California Street.
It was reported that Anthony Mele was having dinner with his wife and daughter when a 49-year-old homeless man, identified as Jamal Jackson, entered the restaurant and stabbed him in the neck before fleeing the scene.
Good Samaritans apparently ran after the knife-wielding homeless man and captured him at the beach, where he was arrested.
When paramedics arrived at the scene, they found Mele suffering from a life-threatening wound. He was rushed to an area hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery. Following the surgery, the victim was listed in critical condition.
Relatives and friends were stunned and heartbroken by the Ventura stabbing and stated that it was unnecessary. They asked social media users for prayers and hoped that he would survive the ordeal. But in a poignant Facebook post, Mele’s mother, Becky Grieco Mele, released the devastating news that her son did not survive.
The victim was a store manager at AT&T, according to his Facebook. His co-workers were heartbroken to learn of his untimely death, stating that things will “not be the same without him.”
Relatives established Anthony Mele’s GoFundMe page, hoping to garner $25,000 to help pay for his funeral expenses.
Ventura police say the stabbing was a random attack. The suspect and the victim did not know each other, and they did not interact before the fatal stabbing.
UPDATE: Stabbing in Ventura last night sends 35-year-old man to hospital in critical condition. His 5-year-old child was in his lap when the stabbing occurred. Police detained a suspect not far from the scene.https://t.co/p2jFKqpHJ4 pic.twitter.com/buQpqaeXOU
— Ventura County Star (@vcstar) April 19, 2018
Inmate records indicate that Jackson was initially booked into the Ventura County jail on attempted murder charges, but after the victim succumbed to his injuries, the charge was changed to murder.
Jackson could also face child endangerment charges, officials say.
The manager at Aloha Steakhouse stated that the victim’s family called and thanked them as well as the good Samaritans for their help when Mele was stabbed in the neck.
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) April 19, 2018
Officers with the Ventura Police Department stated that the motive for the fatal stabbing is unknown, but they are conducting an investigation.
If you have information regarding the stabbing death of Anthony Mele, you are urged to contact detectives at (805) 339-4488.