Updated: 11:13 AM PDT, April 05, 2021
An Asian woman was fatally stabbed by a random stranger identified by police as a “transient” when she was out walking her dogs in California, authorities say. Police are not calling the alleged attack a hate crime, CNN reported.
Sixty-four-old Ke Chieh Meng of Riverside was walking her two small dogs on Saturday morning along Golden Avenue in the La Sierra neighborhood when a woman confronted her and stabbed her before she fled the scene, according to the Riverside Police Department in a statement.
Residents saw Meng lying on the ground around 7:30 a.m. and called police. When police and paramedics arrived Meng had multiple stab wounds and was bleeding from her abdomen. She was transported to a local hospital and later died from her injuries, police said.
After the attacks, police were called from neighbors in the area reporting “a transient woman walking through their yards and appearing suspicious,” according to CNN.
Darlene Stephanie Montoya, 23, of Monterey Park, was detained when police arrived. Riverside Police Spokesperson Officer Ryan Railsback said the attack on Meng, who was of Asian descent, did not appear to be racially motivated, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported.
“This one is looking like the victim was just randomly attacked by the suspect, but not attacked because of her race,” Railsback said.
Montoya was identified by Railsback as “homeless and someone “experiencing mental-health and substance-abuse issues,” according to the Tribune.
On Tuesday, days before Meng’s attack, Montoya was arrested for allegedly attacking a woman with a skateboard near a shopping strip at the 91 Freeway overpass. The victim was white, police said. At the time, she was arrested and booked into jail for assault with a deadly weapon, but due to the current emergency bail schedule during the COVID-19 pandemic, she was released on a ‘Notice to Appear’ citation,” a police statement said.
On Saturday, Montoya was arrested and booked in the Robert Presley Detention Center on suspicion of murder, a weapons violation, and for being under the influence of an illegal substance. She is being held without bail.
Amid the rise in anti-Asian hate crime incidents across the nation, the Riverside Police spokesperson said they are still looking into whether the attacker’s behavior constitutes a hate crime.