MONTEBELLO (CBSLA) – A community college student who was brutally stabbed in what authorities called an “unprovoked” attack while riding a bus in East Los Angeles in April died from his injuries earlier this week.

Twenty-two-year-old Austin Zavala passed away Sunday in a local hospital, according to the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.

A surveillance photo of the suspect from the bus on the morning of the stabbing. April 9, 2018. (L.A. County Sheriff’s Department)

Charges against the suspect, 27-year-old Manuel Ortiz Jr. of Montebello, were upgraded from attempted murder to murder, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office reported Wednesday. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Thursday.

On the morning of April 9, Zavala was riding a Montebello Bus Lines bus in the 5700 block of Whittier Boulevard, on his way to East Los Angeles College, when he was stabbed several times in the neck and head, according to prosecutors.

The suspect then got off the bus and ran away.

“It was a savage attack and one that caused us great concern,” L.A. Sheriff Jim McDonnell said in a statement at the time. “It was seemingly unprovoked, as the suspect walked towards the front of the bus, pulled a knife and stabbed the victim multiple times.”

Following the release of surveillance video from the bus, Ortiz was apprehended three days later.

There was no word on a motive in the attack.

Ortiz faces a maximum sentence of 30 to life in prison if convicted as charged. His next hearing is set for July 26.

(©2018 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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