Survivor of El Sereno stabbing speaks out on near-death ordeal as detectives search for 2nd suspect

Tim Pulliam Image
Saturday, March 18, 2023
Survivor of El Sereno stabbing speaks out on near-death ordeal
A father of three who survived a stabbing attack in El Sereno is speaking out on how he barely survived, as the suspect's other victim, a 17-year-old, is being laid to rest Saturday.

EL SERENO, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Daniel Villalobos had just left his home and was headed to work when a strange man walked up on him and began stabbing him violently.

Villalobos was stabbed multiple times before he fought off his attacker, 32-year-old David Zapata, who has also been charged in the killing of 17-year-old Xavier Chavarin.

"I just remember him coming at me, on top of me with the knife and I give my last best to push him with my two legs," said Villalobos. "And that's how I got to run."

Villalobos says he ran to a liquor store after his attack to call for help. He arrived bleeding profusely from the six stab wounds Zapata allegedly inflicted on the father of three.

For Villalobos, all he could think about was his family.

"My kids, my wife," said Villalobos. "I didn't want to die in front of the house."

Zapata faces 40 years to life in prison if convicted on all his charges.

Prosecutors say Zapata killed the Woodrow Wilson High Schooler Chavarin as he waited for his mother outside an El Sereno restaurant. Then, just hours later, Zapata attacked Villalobos, leaving him permanently scarred, and out of work.

The water technician is out of a job as he recovers from the stab wounds. To make matters worse, Villalobos was the sole breadwinner for his young family.

And, not only does Villalobos suffer from physical injuries, but mental ones as well.

"They can see that I am not the same guy," said Villalobos. "I'm not the same dad."

As for his attacker, Villalobos has nothing to say.

"I don't got no words for him," said Villalobos. "It's just not worth it. I'm just going to focus on my kids, my life. People who are around me, showing me love."

Detectives are still looking for a second suspect connected to the two stabbings. As for Zapata, he is awaiting an April court date to see if he is mentally stable to stand trial in a jail cell.

Villalobos' family has set up a GoFundMe page, where they have raised $7,000 of the $10,000 they hope to raise to cover medical bills and living expenses, as they hope to find a new place to live.