LOS ANGELES – A homeless man who accidentally stabbed a patron in a crowded Southern California restaurant while holding his daughter's hand was reported as disturbing a few hours ago, but the police eventually found that he did not pose a threat
49-year-old Jamal Jackson faces a first-degree murder charge with the murder of 35-year-old Anthony Mele. He was detained on a $ 1.5 million bail in Ventura Prison. It was unclear whether Jackson, who is also a convicted criminal, had a lawyer who spoke for him.
Mele and his wife had dinner on Wednesday with their 5-year-old daughter at the Aloha Steakhouse in the coastal town of Ventura. The girl sat on her father's lap when the prosecution said Jackson had gotten up and stabbed Mele in the neck.
Prosecutor Richard Simon said that clients and a restaurant clerk followed Jackson out of the restaurant, although he still had the knife. They held him until the Ventura police arrived and arrested him.
Mele was taken to hospital and died on Thursday after her livelihood had been removed.
"It's terrible," said Simon. "You do not think you'll be killed if you eat with your family in a nice restaurant and did nothing."
Simon said the two men did not interact with each other before the attack.
"He just sat there with his daughter in his lap," said Simon. "Thou shalt not die like that."
Mele's relatives started a GoFundMe page to collect money for a funeral and to support his wife and daughter.
Mele's Facebook page was filled with photos of his daughter and he said he was a manager in an AT & T business.
The police confirmed that a viewer reported a man – who turned out to be Jackson – for disruptive behavior several hours before stabbing.
According to the viewer, a man was screaming about three hours before the attack on the boardwalk near the beach restaurant.
Patrol officers were on other calls, so Control Center personnel monitored the man via a pier surveillance camera system for more than 20 minutes. It seems to be a threat, the police said.
Police ask anyone who has talked with Jackson during this time to contact city investigators 70 miles (113 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles.
Jackson also had half a dozen contacts with the police in Ventura since the beginning of the year, including an arrest following a physical fight in a park, said Commander Tom Higgins
He was also stopped on 31 March after being a passer reported that he swung a knife. The police ransacked his bag and found a knife, but there was no casualty, so no charges were filed, Higgins said.
Jackson has a long criminal record with charges in San Bernardino County, Higgins said, as well as convictions for burglary and unlawful sexual intercourse since the 1990s.
The killing prompted the Ventura City Council to increase police patrols in the area and add staff to monitor surveillance cameras, among other things.
"We are extremely disheartened and angry about this criminal attack," said Mayor Neal Andrews in a statement. "We will not tolerate this in our community, nothing is more important than the safety of our visitors, residents and businesses."
Jackson is sentenced to 55 years in prison after conviction.
Associated Press author Amy Taxin of Santa Ana, California, contributed to this report.