Suspect Charged in Stabbings at Target Store

Off-duty deputy credited with arrest

A woman accused of stabbing four people in a busy Target store Monday afternoon was charged Wednesday with attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon.

The woman was arrested when an off-duty sheriff's deputy pulled his gun and ordered the woman to the ground as screaming shoppers ran from the building, authorities said. Arraignment was scheduled for Wednesday in Beverly Hills Superior Court. 

Layla Trawick started randomly stabbing people with two blades -- a butcher's knife and a carving knife, Los Angeles sheriff's Sgt. Josh Mankini said. The 35-year-old Antioch woman was arrested with the help of private security guards and booked on suspicion of attempted murder.

"She was literally walking up and down the aisles slashing people," said sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore.

When off-duty sheriff's Deputy Clay Grant saw her and ordered her to drop the knives, she ran away and he chased her through the store, aisle after aisle, Whitmore said.

Several shoppers who saw Grant pull out his weapon feared he was a gunman and began running and screaming, adding to the sense of panic, Mankini said.

"If he wasn't there, who knows? Someone would be dead right now," Mankini said. "He had no communication with outside law enforcement. He's just some guy doing his shopping. We're pretty proud of him."


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Three women and a man were stabbed and taken to area hospitals, Mankini said. One of the victims was stabbed in the neck and shoulder.

One of the victims was a woman holding a baby, but the baby wasn't hurt, Whitmore said.

Katy Winn, a freelance photographer from West Hollywood, was browsing the store's selection of Mother's Day cards when she heard someone screaming.

She looked up and saw a woman yelling, "There is no witness protection program!"

"I don't know what it means but she was yelling that repeatedly and at the top of her lungs," Winn said. "I think I heard (the deputy) telling her to drop to the floor. That's when things got really chaotic and started falling over."

Winn dropped her basket and dashed across the store to the women's section, where she hid behind the clothing racks.

"From the moment the screaming started it was about five minutes. But it felt longer than that," she said. "There were lots of women and children trying to get out of the store as soon as possible."

Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Frederick Stowers said one victim was in critical condition. Authorities did not immediately know the conditions of the others.

Mankini said Grant, a five-year veteran of the department, was authorized to have a weapon in the store.

"I'm thanking my lucky stars for that deputy. Without him who knows how many people would have been hurt," Winn said.

Editorial note: An earlier version of this story said five people were stabbed. The correct number is four.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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