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Homeless man accused of fatally stabbing taco shop worker ID’d

Updated October 26, 2020 - 6:10 pm

Court records have identified a homeless man who Las Vegas police say fatally stabbed a taco shop employee in the chest Sunday night after he was asked to leave the northeast valley restaurant.

Angel M. Martinez, 29, faces one count of open murder with a deadly weapon, according to the records.

Court records show Martinez has a history of arrests in Las Vegas dating to at least May 2019 on charges including use or possession of drug paraphernalia, domestic battery, resisting a public officer and trespassing not amounting to burglary. Details of his past arrests were not immediately available, but on Sunday evening, the homeless man was described by Metropolitan Police Department homicide Lt. Ray Spencer as “a continual problem in the area” where the stabbing took place, near Las Vegas Boulevard North and Lamb Boulevard.

The stabbing happened around 7:30 p.m. just outside Taqueria del Paisano, at 3603 Las Vegas Blvd. North inside the Thunderbird Plaza. A sign posted on the door of the taco shop Monday read, “We are close for today open tomorrow sorry.”

According to Spencer, the man was asked to leave Taqueria del Paisano shortly after entering the business to ask “for money and for food from the business owner.”

“At some point,” Spencer said Sunday night, “one of the employees escorted the homeless male out to the parking lot.”

Once outside, the man drew a knife and stabbed the employee — described only as a man in his 30s — in the chest, according to Spencer. The employee, who died at University Medical Center, had not been identified by the Clark County coroner’s office as of Monday afternoon.

Spencer said the man walked away from the taco shop after the stabbing but was found shortly thereafter by patrol officers with survivable stab wounds on one of his arms and the knife still in his possession. He remained hospitalized Monday and will be transferred to the Clark County Detention Center once he is released from the hospital, police said.

In court Monday, Hearing Master Amy Ferreira ordered Martinez held without bail. While Martinez remained hospitalized and was not present for the brief hearing, another hearing was set for Wednesday.

‘Always a problem’

The man had a history of pestering businesses near where the attack occurred, said another man who works in the area.

“This guy, he’s been always a problem for all of us out here,” said Vivek Kumar, an employee at XO Liquor, which is adjacent to the taco shop.

Kumar said he heard the two men arguing and witnessed the aftermath of the attack. Kumar did not know the victim’s name but said he was a very nice person who was working to make ends meet.

“He did not deserve to die the way he died,” Kumar said.

Kumar said the victim had “a T-shirt on his chest, holding his hand on that and walking around. And he came to my store and said, ‘Can you call the medics for me?’ I’m like, ‘What happened?’”

“Then he went outside and he passed out,” Kumar said. “Just blacked out.”

Kumar said the homeless man was constantly causing problems for businesses in the area. This summer, Kumar said, the same man had to be removed from the liquor store by a cadre of Las Vegas police officers after the man would not leave.

“Literally eight cops had to come take him out of the store,” Kumar said.

Kumar said to his surprise, the man was already back in front of the business complex the next morning when he returned to open the store.

Anyone with information about the stabbing may contact Metro’s homicide section at 702-828-3521 or, to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555.

The death marked the 140th homicide in Clark County this year and the 107th investigated by Metro, according to records maintained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

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Contact Rio Lacanlale at rlacanlale@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @riolacanlale on Twitter. Contact Glenn Puit by email at gpuit@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.

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