Lawsuit: Cal State Fullerton, Church Negligent in 2018 Stabbing

Photo: Cal State Fullerton Photos/Flickr

Daniela Sanchez, a student at Cal State Fullerton, is suing both that school and the First Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton, alleging both institutions were negligent when she was stabbed in a vicious attack a year ago. Then, Sanchez was a 20-year-old linguistics student who had just parked her car in the church parking structure next to campus (the church and school had arranged for commuter students to park there) when she was allegedly attacked by Luis Eduardo Munoz, 24.

The complaint lays out in scary, nauseating detail what Sanchez says happened to her during the attack in the parking garage:

On Wednesday, October 31, 2018, at approximately 1:00 p.m., Daniela was on her way to the CSUF campus for class. She parked her car in her designated parking garage at the Subject Parking Structure. After Daniela had parked her car, and as she was removing her school supplies from her trunk, she felt a presence behind her. Standing behind her, mere feet away, was a 24-year-old male, Luis Eduardo Munoz, wielding a knife. Munoz proceeded to grab Daniela and repeatedly attempted to stab her. Daniela courageously fought back, blocking and grabbing the blade with her bare hands, but suffering grievous wounds in the process.

In the moments after the attack, as Daniela frantically struggled to operate her touch-screen phone–made all the more difficult due to the amount of blood gushing from her mangled hands–a CSUF employee driving a vehicle with a CSU Parking and Transportation Services decal on the side came to the scene. Ignoring her screams for help and medical attention, the CSUF employee negligently drove past Daniela without stopping. Then, several minutes later, the same CSUF employee returned to the scene and asked Daniela if she was “kidding,” to which Daniela reiterated that she had been stabbed and needed help. Again, the CSUF employee ignored Daniela’s pleas, ignored the blood surrounding Daniela, and drove away.

The lawsuit states that Sanchez suffered “physical and emotional injuries that will plague her for the rest of her life.” The lawsuit further alleges that the parking structure “was dangerously defective and contained a variety [of] dangerous conditions that created a substantial risk of injury to persons when such property was used with due care and in a manner that was reasonably foreseeable.” These conditions included “inadequate lighting, inadequately trained security personnel patrolling the facility, absence of blue-light call boxes to provide remote locations with access to police dispatch, absence of entrance gates with security personnel stations, and absence of security cameras to protect against the dangers posed by criminals entering onto the campus.”

Daniela Sanchez in happier times. Photo courtesy Bentley & More

Sanchez’s attorney, Gregory L. Bentley of the Newport Beach law firm Bentley & More, didn’t mince words in a statement sent to reporters.

“Daniela was made a victim over and over again by CSUF, its lack of attention to student safety, and this shameful employee,” Bentley said in a Sept. 30 email on the lawsuit. “CSUF’s parking structures have been the site of multiple stabbings without any change of procedure or heightened security; and for an employee to behave in such a callous and negligent manner is simply unacceptable.”

Police arrested Munoz just a few hours after the attack. He pleaded not guilty to two felony charges and a misdemeanor, and remains in custody while his case moves through the courts, according to Kimberly Edds, public information officer for the Orange County District Attorney’s office.

Officials with the First Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time. Chi-Chung Keung, Director of News Media Services and Senior Communications Counsel for CSUF, would only offer a brief statement.

“California State University, Fullerton is committed to providing a safe environment for its students, faculty and staff,” Keung said in a Sept. 30 email. “Due to the ongoing litigation, the University cannot comment further.”

Just nine months after the attack on Sanchez, Steven Shek Keung Chan, 57 of Hacienda Heights was stabbed to death in a CSUF parking lot. A few days after the murder, police arrested Chuyen Vo, 51, of Huntington Beach–who had worked with Chan at the college–for the crime. The Orange County District Attorney’s office later charged Vo with murder. He also remains in custody, and is expected to enter a plea later this week.

One Reply to “Lawsuit: Cal State Fullerton, Church Negligent in 2018 Stabbing”

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