Man fatally shot after stabbing neighbor to death at Victorville apartment complex

Leticia Juarez Image
Thursday, June 15, 2023
Man fatally shot after stabbing woman to death at IE apartment complex
A day of celebration turned tragic when a woman was stabbed to death by her neighbor after she returned home from her granddaughter's birthday. The suspect was later fatally shot by another neighbor.

VICTORVILLE, Calif. (KABC) -- Two Victorville families have been left reeling following the deaths of their loved ones.

On Sunday, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department responded to an apartment complex in the 16300 block of Pebble Beach Drive after reports of gunfire.

In the parking lot, they found 49-year-old Maria Flores with multiple stab wounds.

"It was a misunderstanding," said Donald Hunter. "My cousin had a lot going on. He was struggling. We were trying to get him help. We tried, he tried himself. He was begging for help and you know how it goes."

Hunter is the cousin of La Dale Sanders Jr., who authorities say stabbed Flores following an altercation with another resident at the apartment complex. Sanders' family said the 21-year-old suffered from mental illness and was in a rage after he was forced to defend himself.

"He was sitting on the staircase. So, him and the upstairs neighbor got into it. So, they get into an altercation. They're fighting," said Sanders' aunt, who asked not to be identified. "Then, the downstairs guy comes out, I guess, and gets in it and shoots his gun in the air."

According a GoFundMe page set up by the Flores family, their mother had just come back from her granddaughter's birthday celebration when she and her daughter encountered Sanders sitting on the stairs.

Investigators said Sanders had a weapon during the altercation.

"Sanders earlier had attacked another person in the apartment complex with a hammer," said Mara Rodriguez, a spokesperson with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

Following the altercation, Sanders' family said he ran back to his apartment to grab a knife and went after the boyfriend of Flores' daughter and the neighbor from downstairs. They said the two both shot at Sanders.

"After they shot him in the street, he fell and they dispersed and ran into their houses," said Sanders' aunt. "I guess they thought he was dead but he wasn't."

She said her nephew, fueled by adrenalin, was able to get up and saw Flores.

"He flew into the lady, hit her, then came around, bust out the window, jumped in there and was stabbing on the man, one of the men that shot him," Sanders' aunt said.

Investigators say Flores was stabbed multiple times and died at the scene. The neighbor who shot and killed Sanders was also stabbed after Sanders broke into his apartment.

The Flores family has set up a GoFundMe page to help lay the mother and grandmother to rest.

The Sanders family has also set a GoFundMe page, saying he leaves behind a 2-year-old son.

Eyewitness News reached out to the Flores family for comment but were unable to speak to them. The incident remains under investigation.

"We hate that it ended like this," said Sanders' aunt.