- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 4, 2015

COVINA, Calif. (AP) - A 19-year-old ex-convict has pleaded not guilty to two counts of attempted murder in the stabbings of two men in the parking lot of a Southern California shopping center.

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1u8xdvq) Louis Vasquez entered the pleas Tuesday. The court set his bail at $2 million.

Police say Vasquez stabbed an 18-year-old Smart & Final store employee who was collecting shopping carts on Saturday in Covina. The attack came hours after Vasquez had been released from jail after serving time for auto theft.

Sgt. Gregg Peterson said Vasquez then headed to a neighboring CVS Pharmacy and attacked a 27-year-old man who was approaching the entrance.

Investigators believe the victims were targeted because of their race. But the district attorney’s office didn’t charge Vasquez with a hate crime.

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Information from: San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

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