Redondo Beach police released this sketch of the Galleria stabbing suspect.
Redondo Beach police released this sketch of the Galleria stabbing suspect.
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Redondo Beach police on Friday released a sketch of the man wanted in the stabbing a teenage boy and girl inside the South Bay Galleria as they continued to search for witnesses to the brazen attack last weekend.

Lt. Joe Hoffman pleaded for anyone who saw the stabbing about 7:20 p.m. Saturday, or anyone who remembered seeing the suspect inside the mall, to contact authorities. Investigators have not yet talked to any direct witnesses, other than the hospitalized young victims who suffered life-threatening injuries in the attack, he said.

The boy and girl, 13-year-old school friends and South Bay residents who'd watched a 3:40 p.m. showing of "Red Dawn" that day at the AMC theaters, are in stable condition and will likely remain hospitalized for another week, Hoffman said.

An artist's sketch of the suspect - compiled based on the victims' descriptions - shows a black man with a graying beard who is believed to be in his 40s. He is wearing a stocking cap and glasses, and a black shirt under a collared, fatigue-style jacket.

"From everything we've been able to determine ... this attack appears to be completely unprovoked," Hoffman told reporters Friday at Redondo Beach City Hall, where he played a mall surveillance video taken immediately after the attack, and not far from where the crime occurred. The teens were stabbed on the mall's third floor, just north of the AMC movie theaters, as they sat on a bench, police said.

In the video clip, a man who police believe is the suspect walks in dark jeans from the upper left side of the frame to the right, crossing in front of an escalator outside the movie theaters.

"One of the important things that we need to get out there is that fact that, look at all these people that are in the movie theater, in the mall," Hoffman said. "Clearly, there's a lot of people at the mall, in this area at the time that it occurred, and somebody saw this happen."

The call for witnesses is complicated by the fact that shoppers and moviegoers might not have known what happened as they walked around the busy Galleria that night or stood in line for tickets. But Hoffman said any bit of information from the public could help.

"Maybe they didn't realize this was a stabbing," Hoffman said, "but somebody definitely saw the suspect either before, during, or after this occurred and we need this person to come forward."

He said "every little bit helps. Every little piece is what is going to help us put this case together."

The brazen attack prompted Redondo Beach police, who maintain a mall presence, to call for mutual aid from three neighboring agencies. Authorities then funneled outgoing mall traffic toward three exits as they attempted to track down the suspect.

Inside, mall personnel requested help for the injured teens, who initially stood up and tried to walk toward nearby restaurants to get help. A relative of one teen was seeing a movie at the time of the incident.

Police said the victims' families have asked for privacy, and they offered limited information Friday about the boy and girl, who are both Latino.

The boy suffered six stab wounds, four on his arm, one on his chest and one on his side, Hoffman said. The girl sustained three - to her chest, clavicle area and her side.

Police said they do not know the suspect's motive, and that the victims are not believed to have any connection to him.

Redondo Beach police have asked that anyone with information about the mall attack call 310-937-6685, send a text to 310-339-2362, or email crimetips@redondo.org.

kristin.agostoni@dailybreeze.com

Follow Kristin S. Agostoni on Twitter at http://twitter.com/kagostoni