Mother of Echo Park stabbing victim asks for “tolerance and acceptance” as hate-crime investigation continues

Over the decades, Juanita Jenny Olivas has seen Echo Park become a safer place to live and raise a family.  “The neighborhood has improved,” said Olivas, who lives in a house that has been owned by her husband’s family for more than 60 years. But, one night last month,  Olivas’ impression of neighborhood safety changed dramatically. A late night call from a hospital informed Olivas that her 26-year-old son was being treated for stab wounds after he and a friend were assaulted on Echo Park Avenue by suspects who yelled gay slurs before the May 24 attack.  On Tuesday night, Olivas asked residents gathered at a community meeting to help find the suspects and to also stand against hate crimes while learning about “tolerance and acceptance.”

“It’s going to take the whole community to come together,” said Olivas in an interview at the Echo Park United Against Hate Crimes Town Hall. “This was an attack on the community.”

Police, who are still looking for the suspects shown in a surveillance camera video, are investigating the matter as a hate crime.  Today, the Los Angeles City Council is scheduled to vote on a motion by Councilman Eric Garcetti to create a $25,000 reward for information leading the conviction of the persons responsible for the attack.

Olivas son, who she declined to identify by name, was not present at the town hall, held outdoors in the recreation yard of the El Centro Del Pueblo in Echo Park. In addition to stab wounds, he suffered three fractured bones.   “He’s lucky to be alive,” said Olivas, who works at Cal State L.A.

The attack has taken an emotional as well as physical toll on Olivas’ son, who lives with her in Echo Park, and the family.  “He’s back at work,” said Olivas of her son, who works at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “He’s functioning. But he’s got to deal with what’s happened to him.”

Olivas’ son and a friend were headed to his home after spending some time at Sunset Beer on Sunset Boulevard before they came under attack on Echo Park Avenue. Her son has watched a surveillance video, shot from an Echo Park Avenue apartment building near Fairbanks Place, that shows grainy images depicting people running up and down the sidewalk and across the street. “He does not say much”  about the images, Olivas said

The assault has shaken Olivas’ impression of neighborhood safety. “I felt really good and safe in the community.  Now, I am looking behind me and just being cautious of my surroundings.”

The creation of the reward indicates how difficult it has been for the police to find the suspects despite the video footage.  Olivas said it will be a while before anyone is caught. “Some people might consider this snitching,” said Olivas of  requests for information about the suspects. “This is not snitching.”

On Tuesday night, Olivas said she was  heartened to see so many people turn out at the town hall.  “We are starting off with a good turnout today. I my very, very happy to see the support.”

Persons with information about the incident are asked to call  the Northeast Division detectives at (323) 344-5751.

Related Post:

  • Family of Echo Park hate crime victim pleads for witnesses to come forward. KPCC


  1. This incident makes me sick!

  2. This is what happens when you let gangs come and go as they please, We must implement a zero tolerance on gangs they have been coddled like little babies for too long we must put an end to gangs once and for all!

  3. “Coddled like little babies”, really? Because of zero tolerance/gang injunctions LAPD are allowed to profile anybody they think can be gang members and harass people who aren’t even a part of gangs. So if you want your neighborhood to be safe think of a new way to solve gang problem.

  4. el dandy40: how about you think of a new way?

  5. your right gangs are a real productive part of the community drive by shootings ,drugs sales ,prostitution and all of the other fun crimes are just a way of saying hey were here to help people help them selves I mean these guns and knives and crack are not gonna smoke stab or shoot and sell them selves,
    Thanks for helping me understand that.

    • White people that are not gang members smoke weed , and do coke .
      They string trash like teddy bears and shoes with trophies over phone wires and call it art .
      Please tell me where in Echo Park are the prostitutes ? and if it is so terribly bad and gawd awful , what do you live here .?
      Incidents happen , and have always happened all over the city .
      It is not exclusive to Echo Park .
      this is still a great place to live , and always has been.
      Echo Park since 1967.

      • Ahh, So you defend gang because your a racist I get it now its clear if they were the kkk or some white neo nazi gang then your tune would change I fully undersigned your racists point of view now, my point of view is to eradicate all gangs of all color an creed but you can still be an enabler its totally fine.

        • No , genius , its not that complicated . i m saying there is good and bad in all sizes shapes races colors etc….
          Oh , where are the prostitutes in Echo Park ? Do Tell.
          Again , Echo Park has always been and will always be a great place to live.

      • Since you asked — Prostitutes (Trannies) have been active near Sunset around the Silverlake / Echo park border for some months, and many drug dealers and tagging crews work the alleys around there. But thanks to the LAPD vice squad and northeast division, there has been a great reduction in the prostitution lately.

        My family and I moved here more than a decade ago because at the time it was one of the few affordable parts of LA that was near where we worked. Many of the houses were really nice and the neighborhood had a lot of character and charm. We liked the bohemian vibe and the deep sense of culture that exists here (hipsters and all). However at times, it does get, as you say, “terribly bad and gawd awful.” In addition to the Prostitution, Tagging, property crime and the occasional HOMICIDE, we have rude neighbors who use the excuse “I’ve been here 20 years,” to justify their loud drunken parties and they tell me to f*** my mother when I ask them to keep it down.

        People always comment in these things that “If you don’t like it move somewhere else.” The thing is, I’m a PROPERTY OWNER, so it’s not that simple. I’m a stakeholder in this neighborhood so I am highly motivated to work with local law enforcement and the city council to clean it up. And since I’m a property taxpayer, they actually pay attention to me.

  6. There is no gang injunction in EP.

  7. While watching Tele Mundo news this afternoon, I believe I saw a reward of 25 Million reward for criminals……

  8. It’s so sad when people automatially ASSUME every crime is gang related, than get on this blog and call other people racist for holding true to their belief’s. To the person spouting out the hate chill out ya.ll got what you wanted a vibrant business community that caters to outside interests we locals just love the drunks pissing on the street as they walk home drunk, we love almost getting hit by drunk drivers who call us F___ing beaners go home. We love the idea that we no longer spend OUR money locally. Its not missed the hippsters pay with credit cards. We love the violence, disrespect, whats wrong with us to say what we truely feel. If this would have happened to a gay person the gay and lesbian community would be up in arms carrying signs holding vigils demanding justice against THOSE PEOPLE. But were just ur peons, we do the work, are underpaid and dont speak up. NOT!

Post a Comment

Please keep your comments civil and on topic and refrain from personal attacks. The moderator reserves the right to edit or delete any comments. The Eastsider's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy apply to comments submitted by readers. Required fields are marked *