Gang Member Nicknamed ‘Monster' Arrested in Fatal Stabbing of Homeless Man

A 34-year-old gang member who was seen riding the same bicycle as one in a surveillance video the night of a fatal stabbing of a homeless man in Lake Balboa was arrested on murder charges, police said Thursday.

Anthony Valdez was booked into jail on murder charges in the stabbing of Jari Tapani Wayne, 31, who died Tuesday near Vanowen Street and Woodley Avenue, according to a Los Angeles Police Deparment news release.

"Initially, Valdez had come forward as our only witness to the stabbing that morning," said LAPD Capt. Paul Vernon. "He gave us a story of seeing Wayne approach a car in the street, from which someone stabbed the man, but video from a nearby business later told a different story."

The video showed Valdez's initial story as a witness was a ruse, and the two men, Valdez and Wayne, who police said had prior confrontations, had face-to-face contact near a laundromat, Vernon said.

"There appeared to be a confrontation between the two men, and Valdez stabbed Wayne, who staggered away and died," Vernon said.

Gang officers identified Valdez from the video as a local gang member nicknamed "Monster."

The gang officers drove back to the crime scene around 5 p.m. Wednesday and saw Valdez with the same bicycle he was seen with in the laundromat video, police said.

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