ESCONDIDO, Calif. — A homeless man was behind bars Wednesday in connection with the fatal stabbing of a fellow transient outside a Burger King in Escondido.
John Christopher Burns, 47, was arrested by sheriff’s deputies on Tuesday at the Pala Casino, according to the Escondido Police Department, and booked on suspicion of murdering Jose De Jesus Martinez, 32. The deputies were responding to an unrelated incident at the casino when they found and detained Burns.
The stabbing was reported shortly before 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Burger King on West Valley Parkway west of Interstate 15, Escondido police Lt. Kevin Toth said.
Martinez was sitting at a patio table outside the fast-food restaurant when Burns approached him and “they appeared to have a brief interaction,” Toth said. “The … suspect was then seen swinging at the victim in a stabbing type motion … then left the area on foot.”
Officers and paramedics responded to the scene and found Martinez with a stab wound to his neck, Toth said. Paramedics took him to Palomar Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Both Burns and Martinez were homeless, although it is unclear whether they knew each other, according to the Escondido Police Department.
Investigators believe the stabbing occurred after the two fought over a bicycle, but details of their interaction is still under investigation.
Officers booked Burns into the county jail in Vista. He was being held without bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
Anyone with information about the slaying was urged to call the Escondido Police Department at 760-839-4722. Tipsters can also remain anonymous by calling 760-743-8477.