California man accused in 2 machete attacks at Irwindale homeless camp, police say

California man arrested after 2 machete attacks at homeless camp

IRWINDALE, Calif. — A California man is accused of slashing two people with a machete in separate attacks at a homeless camp in Irwindale, authorities said.

Fidel Esparza, 52, of La Puente, was arrested on suspicion of two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of resisting arrest, Irwindale police said in a news release. Two victims identified Esparza as the attacker in the September incidents, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported.

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His bail was set at $50,000.

The attacks occurred Sept. 4 and Sept. 29 at the encampment, located on Army Corps of Engineers land in Irwindale, KTLA reported.

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MEDIA RELEASE ~ Suspect Arrested in Multiple Machete Attacks. In September of this year, two separate machete attacks were reported to the Irwindale Police Department, both of them occurring in the undeveloped land belonging to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers located north of the 1200 block of Arrow Highway in the city of Irwindale. In the first incident, which was reported on September 4, 2020, an adult female victim was attacked by the suspect, an adult male, inside her homeless camp. The suspect was armed with a large machete knife and the victim was slashed on the arm during the assault. In the second incident, which was reported on September 29, 2020, an adult male victim was attacked by the same suspect during an altercation at a homeless camp in the same area as the first attack. The suspect was armed with a large machete knife and the victim was slashed on the hand and fingers. In both cases, the suspect fled before law enforcement arrived. The two incidents were unrelated, however the suspect was known to both victims. He was identified by name and was known to be as a local transient who frequented the area. Using information provided by the victims and from other resources, Irwindale Police Department detectives identified locations within the city where the suspect was known to visit. On today's date at about 10:59 AM, detectives observed the suspect during a surveillance operation in the 1400 block of Arrow Highway. Detectives and patrol officers approached the suspect on Arrow Highway, however he fled on foot and a short foot pursuit ensued. The suspect was eventually taken into custody nearby without incident. During the investigation, a number of machete knives were recovered by detectives. The suspect, Fidel Esparza, a 52-year-old transient with a last reported address in the city of La Puente, was booked at the West Covina City Jail on two counts of Assault with a Deadly Weapon and one count of Resisting Arrest. He is currently being held on $50,000.00 bail. Press Release Prepared by : Detective Sergeant Rudy Gatto, PIO, phone: 626-430-2245, email: rgatto@irwindaleca.gov #mediarelease #irwindale #irwindalepd

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During the first attack, Esparza allegedly approached a woman in the camp and slashed her on the arm with a large machete knife, police said.

More than three weeks later, Esparza allegedly attacked a man during an altercation at the same homeless camp.

“The suspect was armed with a large machete knife and the victim was slashed on the hand and fingers,” police said in a news release.

Both victims knew the attacker and identified Esparza by name, KTLA reported.

Police spotted Esparza at about 10:59 a.m. on Sunday, according to the Tribune. He was taken into custody after a brief chase on foot, the newspaper reported.

Several machetes were later recovered by investigators.

Fidel Esparza is accused of attacking two people with machetes in two separate incidents last month.
Fidel Esparza is accused of attacking two people with machetes in two separate incidents last month. (Irwindale Police Department)