TEMECULA (CBSLA) — A man was fatally stabbed in the parking lot of a Temecula Walmart Wednesday.
Witnesses originally told authorities they thought the men were involved in an altercation about a parking spot or road rage. Wednesday evening, authorities discounted the parking space scenario.
“People are telling us it was a parking dispute; others are saying it was road rage. Our investigators are trying to find out what happened,” said Riverside County Ssheriff’s Deputy Mike Vasquez.
The attack happened about 12:15 p.m. on the east side of the Walmart at 32225 Temecula Parkway.
Authorities now believe it was an incident of road rage that led to the deadly stabbing.
According to Vasquez, the victim was stabbed at least once and collapsed. The victim was taken to Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar He was pronounced dead a short time later.
Family members at the scene identified the deceased to CBS2’s Tina Patel. They identified the victim as 19-year-old Kevin Rodriguez.
Vasquez said the alleged perpetrator, identified only as an adult male, was detained without incident. Several other people who were with the suspect were also detained for questioning.
The Walmart remained open for business, although investigators cordoned off a section of the parking area to collect and process evidence.
“We’re speaking to witnesses inside and outside the store and looking at security camera tape as part of the investigation,” Vasquez said.
On Wednesday evening, Patel spoke to the victim’s grieving parents and girlfriend.
Traci Rodriguez, the victim’s mother, said her son had a huge following on Instagram — for videos and photos he posted. That following always made her nervous.
“He liked to cliff jump and jump off bridges and stuff and see how many flips he could do before he hit the water. I was always afraid, told him you’re going to get hurt. But I never thought he would get hurt this way. This was a senseless act.”
The girlfriend confirmed there was some kind of road rage incident and the suspect followed them to the store.
Said his father, Attics, “I guess he didn’t know the guy was running behind him. He turned him around and grabbed him by the neck and when he realized what was going on, trying to break free, the guy already stabbed him.”
Patel also spoke to a Walmart employee who was friends with Rodgriguez, in fact, the two had recently played basketball together. But Rex Yosiano said he had no idea, at first, that his friend was a victim.
“It’s just kind of shocking,” said Yosiano, “I wouldn’t expect it to be him. Not seeing his face, I don’t know, I just saw his body, so it didn’t really hit me at the time.”
Police are looking for store security tape to see if they can piece together what happened. Rodriguez’ girlfriend said the suspect was recording the entire thing on his cellphone — police have not confirmed that.