UPDATE at 5:08 p.m. Monday, Dec. 22: Police have arrested a neighbor on suspicion of murder. Investigators believe the donuts were done in order to provoke the victim and get him to come out for a confrontation. More below. First posted at 8:04 a.m. 

Police today were trying to track down a pair of men who attacked a man who had stepped outside his home to investigate a car doing donuts on his residential street in Arleta, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

It's a tragic case that involves three neighbors.

The victim was fatally stabbed in the confrontation with three suspects who had been inside the silver Honda Accord that was doing donuts shortly before 4 a.m. yesterday, said LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon.

Two of the three abandoned the Honda and fled but the car's owner, who had been in the backseat before the violence, was found at his nearby home and detained, police said.


The 4 a.m. Sunday attack happened in the 8800 block of Beachy Avenue, according to the LAPD.

” … Someone was doing donuts in the street, screeching tires,” said Vernon, “but no one called police right away.”

Doing donuts involves driving in tight-radius circles as the driven wheels of a vehicle spin and screech. Donuts are harder to do in front-wheel-drive cars like the Accord, but doing so is not impossible.

The victim, identified by the L.A. County Department of Coroner as 37-year-old Edgar Barrientos, and another neighbor went outside to investigate, police said.

The Honda's driver and two passengers, including the fellow neighbor in the backseat, attacked Barrientos, Vernon said. The driver had a knife, according to an LAPD statement.

“At least two of the assailants turned their attack” on the other neighbor who had also come out to investigate, and he “retreated into his home,” the department stated:

The attackers then turned their attention back to the original victim, whom they stabbed multiple times. Two suspects left in the car, leaving behind the car’s owner. Arriving police officers detained that man in his home.

Barrientos was taken to a hospital, where he died, police said. Lt. Vernon:

We have yet to identify the two outstanding suspects, apparently friends of the man we detained. We’ll get to the bottom of it soon, but in the meantime, if anyone has information about this incident we’d like them to call.

Anyone with information on the attack was asked to call 818-838-9954.

UPDATE at 5:08 p.m. Monday, Dec. 22: Police arrested the neighbor who was initially in the backseat of the car, now said to be a silver Infinity, according to an LAPD statement:

Detectives booked Javier Garcia, 22, in the murder of his next-door neighbor, Edgar Barrientos, 37, following an early-morning brawl on Sunday in a quiet Arleta neighborhood at Beachy Avenue and Tonopah Street.

Lt. Vernon now says the donuts were done on purpose “in order to provoke a confrontation with his neighbors.”

Vernon added:

We found evidence and statements to corroborate Garcia as an aggressor in the initial beat down of his neighbor on Sunday, which ultimately led to the man being stabbed to death. Now we’re trying to identify his two companions who were driving Garcia’s car.

Suspect Garcia was jailed in lieu of $1 million bail, police said.

With reporting from City News Service. Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow L.A. Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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