Jamal Jackson, the man shown sitting in this surveillance video, is suspected in a fatal Ventura stabbing. Police want to know if you have had contact with him. If so, contact Sgt. Matt Cain 805-339-4488.
CAMARILLO, Calif. — A 35-year-old father died from stab wounds he suffered as he held his daughter in his lap at a restaurant in Ventura, police said Friday.
The victim was identified as Anthony Mele of Ventura.
Ventura police arrested Jamal Jackson, 49, on the night of the attack and have charged him with premeditated murder. Jackson, who is listed as homeless, was being held in Ventura County jail in lieu of a $1.05 million bond. Police continued to investigate a motive for the attack.
The incident unfolded Wednesday night inside the Aloha Steakhouse while Mele was with his wife and his 5-year-old daughter, who sat on his lap.Mele had just finished eating when the attacker walked into the restaurant and stabbed him in the neck, according to police. The girl was not injured, authorities said.
Authorities were called to the scene at 9:20 p.m. Mele was taken to a hospital, where he underwent surgery. Ventura police said they were notified that the victim was removed from life support at about 6:30 p.m. Thursday and died from the injury.
The suspect, identified by authorities as Jackson, was chased by a group of people from the crime scene and onto the nearby beach, police said. Officers later found Jackson and arrested him.
The restaurant was open for business Friday as police continued to investigate a motive for the attack. An impromptu memorial with flowers, candles and photos of Mele had been set up outside near a corner of the restaurant, where people were paying their respects.Our family, friends, and community have been shocked by this random act of violence that took Anthony’s life far too soon. Ant was a wonderful father who loved his daughter, wife and family dearly. On behalf of the Mele family, please share to help lay Anthony to rest. Any donation big or small will not go unnoticed.
Meanwhile, Ventura police said they were stepping up patrols around the Ventura Promenade where the stabbing took place. City leaders also decried the incident and vowed the take measures to ensure a similar incident does not occur.
“We are extremely disheartened and infuriated by this criminal attack,” Mayor Neal Andrews said in a statement. “We will not tolerate this in our community. Nothing is more important than the safety of our visitors, residents and businesses.”
If convicted, Jackson faces up to 55 years in prison.