San Diego

Shoplifting Suspect Stabs Security Guards at Vons in Midway District

Citizens detained the stabbing suspect until police arrived -- including a witness who is a retired corrections officer

A man attempting to shoplift from a Vons grocery store in San Diego’s Midway District Friday night pulled out a knife and stabbed two security guards as they tried to stop the crime in progress.

Just before 10:30 p.m., the suspect, now identified as Matthew Hoag, 22, tried to leave a Vons store located at 3651 Midway Dr. with stolen items. As Hoag exited, a security guard confronted him and a fight ensued, the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) said. A second security guard joined the struggle.

Hoag pulled out a knife and cut one security guard’s finger and stabbed the other in the leg.

Police said citizens in the store then detained the suspect until officers could arrive. One of those citizens was Mark Vargas, a retired corrections officer who used to work for the sheriff's department.

Vargas told NBC 7 he was walking into the grocery store when he saw and heard the commotion. He saw the security guards wrestling with Hoag and could see that one of the victims had been stabbed.

"I could see be a big old wound on his leg," he recalled. "It was pretty wild; people trying to stop the bleeding on the security guard. And the guy was over here fighting, trying to get away."

Vargas, along with other passersby, helped hold down Hoag. He said that in his former line of work, he was faced with those types of encounters.

"(I thought), 'Well, gonna have to get in there and get dirty like I used to," he added. 

The SDPD said the stabbing victims were treated for their wounds and will be okay. No other injuries were reported.

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