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Ray Boone, KSL TV

Man arrested after Friday stabbing at Orem restaurant, police say

By Jacob Klopfenstein, KSL.com | Posted - Mar. 8, 2021 at 11:55 a.m.


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OREM — A man was arrested Friday for investigation of attempted murder after police say he stabbed multiple people in an Orem restaurant.

Joshua Oropeza, 21, was booked into the Utah County Jail on Friday for investigation of attempted murder, aggravated assault and disorderly conduct, according to a jail report.

Oropeza was arrested after a fight broke out at an Orem Denny's, leaving two people with stab wounds and a third with a broken ankle, according to police. All three were later reported to be in stable condition and were receiving medical attention, police said.

The incident started about 6 p.m. Friday at the Denny's after one of the victims and another man had picked up Oropeza to go to the restaurant, where the other man was going to meet his wife, according to the jail statement.

The man who was with the victim told police that on the way to the restaurant, Oropeza was saying "tell your sister I love her" and "I'll miss you man." When they arrived, Oropeza got out a knife and tried to stab the victim, according to the jail report.

The victim went inside the restaurant and told the other man, who was with his wife, that Oropeza had tried to stab him, the jail report said. The man then went to the door and, seeing Oropeza outside, barred the door to prevent him from getting in.

However, Oropeza was able to get inside the restaurant, and said "tell your sister I love her" and "I'll miss her" to the man as he passed him, the jail report said.

Oropeza then chased the victim back to the kitchen area of the restaurant, where he was stabbed in the neck near his spinal column, according to the jail report. The neck wound was 2-3 inches deep and was about an inch away from being a potentially fatal injury, the report said.

He also had a stab wound on his hand where he had tried to defend himself that was so deep it cut tendons and left him without the use of two fingers, the report said.

A second victim was in the restaurant but went back to the kitchen and tried to hold Oropeza down during the altercation, according to the report. At one point, some of the people tried to roll Oropeza from his stomach to his back, but as he rolled over, he wrapped his legs around the second victim's lower leg.

The second victim said he felt his ankle "pop," and an X-ray later revealed his ankle had been broken, the jail report said.

A third victim was in the restaurant eating with some friends and saw the altercation in the kitchen. The victim tried to help separate Oropeza from the first victim, but at one point went to the ground entangled with Oropeza, according to the report.

Oropeza stabbed the victim in his left arm, and the victim then withdrew from the fight, the report said. A doctor later told the victim he was stabbed so forcefully that a piece of his arm bone had chipped off, the report said.

Oropeza attempted to stab a fourth person during the fight, but missed, the report said.

One of the witnesses told police he believed Oropeza was under the influence of illegal drugs during the fight, according to the report.

Further information about the incident has not been released. Oropeza has not yet been formally charged in the case, according to court records.

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