Burnt River Farms, a marijuana dispensary in Ontario, was the scene of a murder Sunday afternoon, according to authorities. (File photo/courtesy Burnt River Farms)
UPDATE: Ontario Police Chief Steven Romero released new information Sunday evening.
ONTARIO – A customer was stabbed to death at the entrance to a busy Ontario marijuana dispensary Sunday afternoon, according to witnesses, and Ontario police are investigating.
Ontario Police Chief Steven Romero said in a press release Sunday evening that a man believed to be from Ontario whose identity wasn’t being released was killed at Burnt River Farms. The dispensary is at 1055 N.W. Washington Ave.
“The motive for the attack leans toward the incident possibly being gang related,” Romero said.
He said investigators determined that the victim and two other men “had been involved in a verbal confrontation inside the business prior to the attack.”
He said a “person of interest” had been detained in Idaho and a second person was expected to surrender.
Relatives and a witness identified the victim as Jonah Reyes of Ontario. His mother, Alicia Reyes, created a gofundme account Sunday evening to raise money for her son’s funeral.
“In a tragic incident our Jonah Noel Reyes was taken from us,” the message on the gofundme site said. “If you can find it in your hearts to help us get through the difficult moment we would be eternally grateful.”
One witness who said she was waiting in a parked car outside the shop at the time said the victim had just left the store when he was attacked.
She said she saw the victim, a man who appeared to be in his 20s, on the ground and “I just thought that he was, like, knocked out so I gathered his money and stuff,” the witness said.
She said as she gathered the marijuana and money dropped by the victim, three men in a car yelled taunts – using a phrase typically associated with gang insults – at the victim and drove off. The car had Idaho license plates, she said. She called 911 at 2:33. p.m., she said.
A man helping the victim identified himself to the witness as his brother.
Another witness said she was inside Burnt River with about 30 other customers at the time.
“A guy came in and said to call 911 and somebody was seriously hurt,” the second witness said. “The guy was on the ground bleeding.”
Customers were escorted out of the business through another door as police taped off the parking lot and questioned witnesses.