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Vegas showgirls describe shock of stabbings that left 2 dead

Police arrested Yoni Barrios, 32, after a short chase blocks from where they say he attacked four showgirls and ended up stabbing eight people on Thursday.

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Victims of a quick series of stabbings on the Las Vegas Strip described the shock and horror of the unexpected attack on a group of showgirls and others outside a casino that left two people dead and six injured.

Police arrested Yoni Barrios, 32, after a short chase blocks from where they say he attacked four showgirls and ended up stabbing eight people on Thursday.

An arrest report released Friday said Barrios told police some of the victims had laughed at him and he “let the anger out.” Prosecutors say he’ll be charged with two counts of murder and six counts of attempted murder.

Las Vegas Strip stabbing spree suspect Yoni Barrios makes his initial court appearance at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas, on Oct. 7, 2022.
Las Vegas Strip stabbing spree suspect Yoni Barrios makes his initial court appearance at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas, on Oct. 7, 2022.KSNV

“I couldn’t believe that this was happening to me,” said Victoria Caytano, one of the showgirl impersonators who was released from the hospital Friday after she was treated for a stab wound.

“I got up, and I started running,” Caytano told KLAS-TV. “I started yelling, ‘he has a knife!’”

The coroner’s office identified those killed as Las Vegas residents Brent Allan Hallett, 47, and Maris Mareen DiGiovanni, 30. Hallett was stabbed in the back and DiGiovanni died from a chest wound, authorities said.

DiGiovanni was part of the Best Showgirls In Vegas modeling and talent agency, according to Cheryl Lowthorp, who runs the business. She said two others with the agency were among the wounded and a third escaped without injury.

According to the police report, some performers said he made them feel uncomfortable when he approached for a photo and one backed away. One woman said he stabbed her in the back, then stabbed DiGiovanni.

Anna Westby, who suffered a punctured lung, said she and Caytano were with DiGiovanni when Barrios attacked them.

“I’m screaming, asking everyone for help,” she told KLAS-TV. “He caught up to me, and he stabbed me in the back and then he ran off.”

Best Showgirls In Vegas provides models and showgirls for various promotional events from restaurant openings to airport greetings. In her 12 years operating the agency, Lowthrop said the models have pretty much gone day to day “without incident.”

“This is a safe job, there are cops everywhere,” Lowthorp said. “No place is filmed more than the Las Vegas Strip.”

The police report said Barrios was covered in blood when he was arrested. Officers seized a large, long-bladed knife, the report said.

Barrios told one victim “sorry, man” before stabbing him in the back and also said that he hoped police would shoot him, the report said.

It wasn’t immediately known whether Barrios had a lawyer who could comment on his behalf. He made his initial court appearance on Friday was ordered held without bail. An initial arraignment was scheduled for Tuesday.

Barrios had an address in Los Angeles, told police that he came to Las Vegas two days earlier to move in with a friend who then refused to let him stay at the house, so he packed his things and took a bus to the Las Vegas Strip, according to the arrest report.