A line cook was fatally stabbed in Venice after work early this morning.

Police say 24-year-old Guillermo Perez was found lying in the street near Washington Boulevard and Pacific Avenue about 12:15 a.m.

Cops were flagged down by someone who spotted Perez:

A manager at nearby Mercedes Grille, where Perez worked, told us today that, at first, passersby “thought he was a homeless guy who was in the middle of the road.”

The cook had just finished work and was walking to his nearby residence, the manager said. Someone realized he had been stabbed, and officers were summoned, he told us:

He was just walking down the back alley on the way to the street to get out, and somebody stabbed him in the chest and took off.

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The manager, who was weeping when we spoke, says Perez left behind a 1-year-old baby and a wife.

Cops said in a statement today that Perez was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

See photos of the crime scene here. Police are looking for witnesses. Call 213-382-9470 if you saw something.

Mercedes Grille is raising funds for Perez's burial. Call 310-827-6259 if you want to help.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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