TEMECULA, Calif. – The girlfriend of a 19-year-old man who was fatally stabbed in the parking lot of a California Walmart held him in her arms as he bled to death.
Kevin Rodriguez died after an “altercation” at a Walmart in Temecula, California. The altercation started outside the store and continued into the parking lot, where it escalated. Another man then stabbed Rodriguez, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
Rodriguez’s parents told KTLA that their son’s girlfriend cradled him after the attack.
"He really loved his girlfriend," the victim's mother, Traci Rodriguez, told the TV station. "And I'm sorry, I'm really sorry for her to have to go through that -- holding him, the way she did. And I'm going to be there for her."
Rodriguez, a freelance videographer, was treated at the scene but died from his wounds after being taken to an area hospital.
Police have not discussed a motive for the stabbing, but Rodriguez’s family believes it may have stemmed from a case of road rage. His son and girlfriend had gone to Walmart to pick up groceries for his father’s belated birthday dinner.
Rodriguez’s girlfriend told his parents that they noticed a driver who appeared anxious and agitated.
"They saw the guy first honking at a lady going through the crosswalk. She said there was a lot of traffic and this guy looked like he was getting really bad anxiety," said Atticus Rodriguez, the victim's father.
"He almost hit my son's car," he continued. "So my son raises his hands and is like, 'What's wrong? What's wrong with you?' Came here to the Walmart, they just figured they're going to walk into Walmart and buy groceries and that's when the altercation happened, the guy got out of his car, went after my son, got him by the throat, he told his girlfriend, 'You're next.' She's freaking out and she had no idea that he had a knife and stabbed him in the heart."
Rodriguez’s girlfriend ran to the car and told him to get in. By then, however, Rodriguez had collapsed. She rushed to his side.
Rodriguez’s father said a witness told him that the man who stabbed his son tried to render aid after the stabbing. He was also told that the man recorded the incident. Police have not confirmed the accounts.
A man was detained at the scene. Investigators said they still needed to interview him.
Police did address one rumor about the case, saying it was not over a parking space. Officials from the sheriff's department said in a news release that the incident "was not a dispute regarding a parking stall."