News Releases

September 10, 2019: Man Convicted of Murder in East Los Angeles Bus Stabbing

Paul Eakins, Public Information Officer
(213) 257-2000

A 28-year-old Montebello man has been convicted of first-degree murder for fatally stabbing a passenger on a bus in East Los Angeles last year, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced today.

A jury deliberated for less than an hour yesterday before finding Manuel Ortiz Jr. guilty and finding true an allegation that he used a deadly and dangerous weapon, a knife.

Sentencing is scheduled on Oct. 4 in Department 131 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center. Ortiz faces 27 years to life in state prison.

Deputy District Attorneys Christina Lutz and Marlene Martinez prosecuted case BA467237.

On April 9, 2018, Ortiz boarded a Montebello Bus Lines bus at Montebello and Whittier boulevards. After riding the bus for several blocks to Whittier Boulevard and Gerhart Avenue, the defendant stabbed 22-year-old Austin Zavala multiple times in the neck and head in an apparently random attack, according to court testimony.

Ortiz exited the bus and fled but was later arrested.

The victim, a college student from Whittier, was taken to a local hospital and died on June 10.

The case was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.