A homeless man is accused of fatally stabbing a Las Vegas taco shop worker who befriended him and regularly gave him food, police and relatives said.
Ciro Vasquez, a 31-year-old Army veteran who worked at his family’s Taqueria Del Paisano, was stabbed Sunday outside the Mexican restaurant by Angel Martinez, 29, after the homeless man went inside and asked for “money and food” from the owner, according to an arrest report obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Vasquez then escorted Martinez outside, where a fight between the pair ensued, leaving the taco shop employee stabbed in the chest and the homeless man with a stab wound to his shoulder, police said.
Vasquez’s death was later ruled a homicide, despite Martinez’s claims to police that he was acting in self-defense and “never took his knife out of his pocket” during the fatal feud, according to an arrest report.
“Martinez was the aggressor and initiated the fight,” the report states, adding that the homeless man had a history of being “aggressive” toward nearby business owners.
Vasquez’s cousin who works at the restaurant said Vasquez regularly had issues with Martinez, but did what he could to help him.
“They were friends,” Jackelin Vasquez told the Review-Journal. “He fed him like every day. I always kind of knew it would end up happening, but I never thought it would be my cousin.”
“He was literally the kindest person I knew,” she added of her late cousin. “He always tried to make everyone happy. He made everyone smile.”
Vasquez started working at the taco shop after briefly serving in the Army, according to an online fundraiser set up to offset his funeral costs.
“He was a kind, funny and easy-going soul,” the website reads. “He had a huge heart & was always trying to help people that crossed his path.”
Martinez fled the shop after Sunday’s fight, but was arrested later that day by police who found him with stab wounds, the Review-Journal reported.
Martinez remained held without bail Friday at the Clark County Detention Center on a charge of open murder with a deadly weapon. He’s due in court Wednesday, online records show.